Not everyone was as measured as Cofrin, unfortunately, as Luke and his owner also received death threats. The Gainesville Fine Arts Association decided to cancel Luke's appearance, according to the Sun, and he remains at an elephant zoo called Two Tails Ranch.
Elephants made to paint have a long and controversial history. There's no evidence that Luke was treated inhumanely, but at some tourist destinations, trainers may teach elephants to make brushstrokes with their trunks via inhumane methods, such as goading with sharpened prods called bullhooks.
The founder of Two Tails Ranch, the private company that owns Luke, admits to using a bullhook but says Luke taught himself to paint. When painting is taught through positive reinforcement, it can be a relaxing and enriching opportunity for elephants, claims the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. One small study, however, found that it had little therapeutic effect for animals in zoos.
It's not the first time that Two Tails Ranch has attracted attention for its elephants. In October 2013, the ranch was under investigation following an elephant attack.