Many memories have been stored away from our numerous trips floating down the magnificent and rather forbidding Zambezi river. I have been embraced by the warm sultry breeze and lain under the African half moon hanging suspended in the endless sky. They say,’ once you have been bitten by the mosquito, you cannot get Africa out of your blood.’ Well I can certainly vouch for that. There is nothing more awe inspiring than the seductive lapping of water against the boat and the melancholy call of the fish eagle as he spreads his wings cruising the empty air pockets. BUT: nothing will ever beat watching an elderly elephant bull, his large ivory tusks weighing down his massive head as he romances the river line. A river line that has been shaped over time by the rough caresses of fast flowing waters. These images leave an everlasting imprint on the mind. To view these magnificent animals in their natural surrounds is truly like balm on the soul.
These imprints on my mind are now over eight years old and they do not fade. However that is what they are : only imprints and distant memories. This leads to questions that leave a lump the size of a large green apple lodged in my throat. If we don’t stop this rampant poaching…what does the future hold? I have seen these animals in the wild and am so scared that they will become just that…and imprint and distant memory. Portraits of a ravaged land by Nick Brandt says it all.
The fate of Africa’s elephants along with other wildlife hangs by a thread. It is on this thread that we as custodians of the earth need to concentrate and secure. There are many selfless and dedicated people out there who have been involved in conservation, and without them these magnificent animals would surely have been lost to the world. Each and every person dedicating some of their time to saving the elephants and other wildlife are needed and appreciated. Each and every one of them brings something different to the table. The Tashinga Initiative in Zimbabwe is a cause close to my heart and guys we salute you all. You are doing an amazing job under difficult circumstances.
While habitat loss is a real threat to these animals, nature has always had ways of keeping their numbers under control. Severe droughts would ravage the land and a large percentage of elephants throughout the entire elephant populations in the region would be lost. During these harsh and stressful times, elephant cows do not conceive, and with the losses from the drought the pressure on the land is relieved. These natural disasters, though cruel are efficient in keeping down the numbers. However mother nature and her hot dry winds are not where the biggest problem lies.
Corruption and greed are decimating Africa’s elephants. The men on the ground need our support. They cannot fight this war on their own. African Governments also need to take action and to be a part of the solution. Those with clout need to stop the demand so that poaching makes no economical sense at all. But while all these cogs are turning, we need to ‘CHENGETA WILDLIFE‘ (look after the wildlife) before it is too late.
Now more than ever, these ambling giants are so vulnerable. Their social structures have been pulled apart by the cruel efficiency of the gun. Every piece of ivory, whether carved or in it’s original form is an evocative memory of a once proud and regal elephant, who has suffered unjust cruelty in the most unspeakable way. This has all been in the name of ‘a piece of dentine’ or ‘teeth’ for humans to own trinkets or jewelry.
HOW, I ask can any human want to own something that is so symbolic of suffering and death?
SAY NO TO IVORY
RESPECT THE IVORY BAN
TUSKS BELONG TO ELEPHANTS
THEY DON’T BELONG TO MAN
Ask yourselves a question. ‘What does it say about us as humans when an elephant is worth more dead than alive?’ Let’s celebrate their life.