Monday, December 1, 2014

Save the elephants! We  all like elephants and we think they might like us too. Let’s hunt down the stupid people who are stalking and hunting and killing elephants for their ivory tusks. Even the most drastic efforts by conservationists  are not stopping the vast killings. In Northern Kenya, Africa there are teams of armed men who search the land for the enemy, the teams of armed men who are killing the elephant. There is more poaching of the wild beasts during the gift of the bright full moon. It is a deadly business that must be brought under control.

Africa is the world’s paradise full of exotic animals and precious gems but yet the people live in the mud instead of homes and feel the need to kill their precious animals just to have some money to survive with. Dozens of Rangers have been killed in Africa battling  poachers in the last few years. Every night they go to a high point in the rocky  terrain and sit there all night looking for any sign of movement . Night vision goggles help see the elephants so they can be shot dead.

The African elephant  is the largest animal to walk the earth. They are majestic creatures that share many characteristics with humans. They have strong family units and maternal bonds. They are intelligent and if allowed, can live a very long life. They have terrific memories too. Also like us they grieve and appear to morn their dead. They are displaying a lot of grief lately. Some 25 thousand elephants per year are now being lost to poachers in Africa. It is the worst it has ever been in the past 20 years and getting worse.

In the past the typical poacher was a solitary local. Now there are armies of people set out to kill. They have sophisticated equipment and are able to kill in far greater numbers than that single poacher who just wanted to feed his family. This is a business of killing now. In one episode in 2012 an estimated 300 elephants were shot dead in Cameroon right inside a National Park. Hey aren’t animals supposed to be safe from gun toting idiots in National Parks?

China and the far east in general are fueling this carnage since 90% of the ivory is sent there in return for cash. Despite the laws banning the harvest and sale of ivory, it remains a powerful status symbol in China where it is used commonly to create artworks, and religious icons.  The economic boom there has tripled the price of ivory in just the past 4 years. The gunman will receive about $2,500 for every elephant with tusks he kills. That represents several years wages from that one elephant. Why are people willing to kill something so big just for a tooth? And then just let it’s massive body rot in the sun spreading disease.

I say increase tourism and let the local people protect the elephants and not poach them for a living. The world needs to know that living elephants can be more valuable than dead ones. Changing attitudes takes education and time. Time that is not on the elephants side. From a high of 1.3 Million elephants alive in the 1970’s poaching has reduced the population to critical levels in the 1990’s . The numbers are plummeting again and now there are only about 500 thousand elephants left in the world. If poaching doesn’t stop, elephants can be extinct in our lifetime. 

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