Question Sheet: Helping to Save Elephants


Before reading:

  1. Have you ever seen an animal show? If so, where was it? What did the animals do? What did the trainer do?
  2. Can an animal “befriend” a person? What evidence would lead you to believe that they were friends?
  3. Jot down some objections people might have to keeping animals in a circus. After reading this article, see which, if any, of your objections were addressed.

During reading:

  1. List five interesting facts about the Asian elephant. Make up a multiple-choice test using these questions and see how well your friends and family members do answering your questions.
  2. What factors are contributing to the decline of Asian elephants in Asia?
  3. Why do female elephants live longer than male elephants in the wild?
  4. What is an “odor fence?”
  5. For an Asian elephant, what are the benefits of becoming part of a circus such as Ringling Bros.?

After reading:

  1. What is the main question this article answers?
  2. An elephant can respond to more than 60 vocal commands. What are the first three commands you would teach an elephant to respond to?
  3. If you had $100,000 to donate to help save Asian elephants, how would you ask that that money be spent?
  4. Is it really important to save the Asian elephant? Why?
  5. When herds of animals become small, genetic inbreeding often occurs. What problems might genetic inbreeding cause?
  6. The elephant is an impressive animal. Is it also important to save less impressive animals? Explain.


  1. If you had a chance to interview a dolphin trainer, what questions might you ask? (Take some hints from Emily’s interview with the elephant biologist.)
  2. Mathematical comparisons often become more memorable when the number is compared to something the reader is familiar with. Complete these comparisons:
a. A newborn elephant weighs about as much as . . .

b. An adult male elephant weighs about as much as . . .

c. An adult elephant can grow to be about as tall as . . .


  1. Approximately how many times heavier is a baby Asian elephant than a baby human?
  2. Approximately how many times heavier is a male elephant than an adult, male human?
  3. Approximately how many times heavier is an adult female elephant than an adult, female human?
  4. Approximately what percentage of Asian elephants born in captivity since the 1990s in North America were born at the Center for Elephant Conservation?