Elephant Stories and Psychology: Part 2

Batyr, The Talking Elephant (1970 – 1993)

In 1977 the young elephant Batyr made his ability to mimic human speech known to his keepers at the Karaganda Zoo in Kazakhstan. Batyr apparently learned to produce about twenty words by using his trunk–placing it in his mouth and using his bottom jaw and tongue. A. N. Pogrebnoj-Aleksandroff studied Batyr, recording the elephant’s speech and writing many articles about him. “Wikipedia”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batyr says that Batyr “delighted zoo-goers at large by asking his attendants for water and regularly praising (or, infrequently chastising) himself.”

Batyr had been rejected by his mother as a young calf and hand-reared by humans. He had no interaction with other elephants after his infancy.


According to Pogrebnoj-Aleksandroff, Batyr was able to reproduce the following words, phrases, and noises:

Баты́р — Batyr — abruptly (the trunk in the mouth)

Я — I’m — very abruptly and to combination of his name, at a long pronunciation so “I’m-Batyr,” sounded almost together

Ба́ты́р — Batyr — thoughtfully-tenderly and lingeringly (the trunk in the mouth)

Батыр, Батыр, Батыр… — Batyr, Batyr, Batyr — joyfully running in a cage (the trunk in the mouth)

Воды́ — Water — ask (the trunk in the mouth)

Хоро́ший— Good — as is good fellow (the trunk in the mouth)

Батыр хоро́ший — Good Batyr — (the trunk in the mouth)

Ой-ё-ёй — Oh-yo — (it is very sonorous — the trunk in the mouth)

Дурак — The Fool — seldom and abruptly (the trunk in the mouth)

Плохой — Bad — it is rare (the trunk in the mouth)

Батыр плохой — Bad Batyr — it is rare (the trunk in the mouth)

Иди́ — Go — (the trunk in the mouth)

Иди (на) хуй — Go onto penis (on-similarity the American expression ‘fuck you’) — the obscene Russian slang; first and unique time during telecast shooting (the trunk in the mouth)

Хуй — The Russian slang of the penis — seldom and abruptly (the trunk in the mouth)

Ба́-ба — the short of “babushka” — the grandmother; short children’s sound “ba” (the trunk in the mouth)

Да́ — Yes — (the trunk in the mouth)

Дай — Give (me) — (the trunk in the mouth)

Дай-дай-дай — Give, give, give… — (the trunk in the mouth)

Раз-два-три — One, two, three — dancing, being turned and hopping (the trunk in the mouth)

A whistle of human

The words of human speech said at level of infrasonic and ultrasonic frequencies

A gnash imitation of rubber or polyfoam (foam plastic) on glass;

The peep of rats or mice

The bark of dogs

The natural blares of elephants

In 1993, Batyr died; I have found two different accounts: that Batyr didn’t wake up from sedation after being put under for foot care, or that he died from complications regarding inflammation of the kidneys and kidney stones.


A short list works about or including the story of Batyr:

The most truthful history or who are talking? An Elephant?!
A.Pogrebnoj-Alexandroff, 1979-1993. ISBN 0972126600.

A.Pogrebnoj-Alexandroff, 2001. ISBN 097212666x.

Speaking Animals
A.Dubrov, 2001. ISBN 5879690865.

Speaking Birds and Speaking Animals
O.Silaeva, V.Ilyichev, A.Dubrov, 2005. ISBN 5944290161.

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