Elephant in the Can

I have been sharing news of  ‘Sunder‘ the elephant on facebook.  Sunder has been subjected to beatings for the past six years.  I, like millions of others are hoping for his release to a sanctuary where he can find love.  Sunders’ misery has had me thinking of our Zimbabwean elephant calves that were sent to China in November 2012.

Having seen these wonderful creatures in the bush, I just can not get my mind around the image of an elephant living on concrete behind bars.  I can only find information on the remaining elephant (one died soon after arrival) at the Taiyuan Zoo in China.

Reading through this article, a huge wave of emotion lodged itself in my throat, and I could feel tears threatening to spill over.  ‘Elephant in the can’ came to mind and I dedicate this poem to the little elephant (and all others who are being held captive in unsuitable surroundings.)


Elephant in the Can


Small elephant calves from their mums are torn

Shipped to a strange land

Far from their roots on the continent where they were born

Behind this deal: a huge fat fee?

Elephants now facing a life of abject misery

Incarcerated behind bars

Little sunshine:  No hope:  No stars


Turmoil and sadness: daily strife

One traumatized elephant calf does lose its life

Escaping barriers: finding tranquility

Forever frozen: cocooned in courage and humility

For the remaining elephant, time slowly melts away

Day becomes night and night merges into day

Gray mists swirl: a heartbreaking sight

Grieving calf : life of loneliness

His personal plight


Tattered, sad: dirty and torn

A spirit hardly lingers: emotionally worn

Dejected trunk and swaying body

The little elephant cries

Tears of sadness roll down wrinkly cheeks

Desolation in his eyes


Elephants live for sixty to seventy years

A life of coldness: bleak is his future

Servitude to man, faces staring in at him

‘Elephant in the can’


I feel strongly that no more animals should be sold and taken from their environment and shipped to foreign soil.

The little elephant in the Taiyuan zoo has been made more comfortable…the problem is that elephants are social, loving animals and they pine for their own kind.

The following link will give you an update on the little elephant as of November 2013

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