Some animals are known for their ability to mimic human speech, but the elephant has never been one of them—until now. Scientists say an Asian elephant at the Everland Zoo, in the Asian country of South Korea, can say five words in Korean.
The 22-year-old, 5.5-ton elephant is named Koshik. Scientists say Koshik uses his trunk together with his mouth to make the sounds.
Koshik can say the words for hello, sit down, lie down, no and good. He follows instructions when he is told to sit down or lie down. But the researchers say it is not clear that Koshik understands all the words he says.
Scientists believe the pachyderm learned to speak in an effort to bond with humans. The elephant is very close with his chief trainer. "That was the key factor that made the elephant want to sound like a human," veterinarian Shin Nam-sik said.
Kim Jong-gab is Koshik's chief trainer. What phrase would he like to teach the elephant next? Saranghae, which means "I love you."
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