U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Elephants' reprieve: How about the rest of the animal kingdom?

Elephants' reprieve: How about the rest of the animal kingdom?

There is no shortage of cute elephant videos on YouTube, and the millions of views they’ve recorded demonstrate why. Elephants are exceptionally smart. They can use tools. They respond to the human voice, and they demonstrate empathy toward other creatures. And, frankly, there are few sights more joyful than watching a baby elephant splashing around in a mud puddle. From its preposterous nose and floppy ears to its ambling gait, an elephant at any age can make a child smile — Dumbo and Horton set the fictional standard, but real elephants remain one of the most popular attractions at every zoo.

That’s why at some level President Donald Trump’s unexpected defense of elephants in...

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