From The Hankyoreh
16-year-old elephant living at Everland, South Korea’s largest amusement park, has begun talking. Kim Jong-gap, 39, a breeder at Everland’s zoo, had a strange experience two years ago. He heard a human voice coming from the elephant enclosure. Kim at first thought he was mistaken. But the sound continued, too vivid to not be real. When he approached the cage, to his astonishment he found that the voice was coming from an elephant named Kosik.
A male Asiatic elephant, Kosik can pronounce eight words: “good,” “lie down,” “no,” “sit down,” “not yet,” “foot,” “turn,” and “turn around,” in a voice nearly human. It has been thought impossible for elephants to talk because they lack an organ similar to the human tongue. However, an elephant in Kenya was confirmed to be able to imitate the sound of a truck. Zoologists have since accepted that some elephants can mimic what they hear. Kosik is the world’s first elephant that can imitate a human voice.