Elephants are fighting a battle of ‘survival’. A battle against humans and their sophisticated weapons is a fight that these elephants cannot win on their own. Humans are waging a war against these enigmatic animals because the elephants own something that humans want. WHY, I ask again. Holding my breath, ‘would you want to own something that is so symbolic of suffering and death?’
Again, as I have mentioned before I feel like I am writing pages of inadequate words as I think sadly about the death of one of the last remaining tuskers, Satao. His rhythm of life has been rudely and savagely broken and his tusks butchered from his face. As the world watches, this devils highway is fast becoming a hauntingly lonely road of grey ghosts. Why, my mind screams do we think that we human beings have the right to wreck such havoc on this planet we call earth. Justice comes from the same place as being human: compassion. What will become of this magnificent elephant bull’s tusks? Where are they going to end up? His personal treasures will be smuggled out of Kenya and into a carving factory in China some 9 2014 km away. Here they will be carved and fashioned into trinkets: for humans.
What is it about an elephant’s tusks that make humans want to own a piece of them? Is it that consumers of ivory want to hold onto a deep feeling of belonging or are they just trying to capture a piece of the magic that surrounds the elephant? I do not know why. We all know what poachers and traffickers make out of these filthy deals, but what makes the demand so unquenchable? What is it that makes this elongated cone like shapes of dentine so highly sought after?
Ivory, when it is dead has an uneasy grandeur about it. Nothing can come close to the beauty of ivory on an elephant. It has a warmth and lustre that pulses with life and personality. Ivory belongs to elephants and has no use to man. For whatever different reasons humans want to own a piece of ivory for we all know that it comes at a great cost to the unfortunate elephants that supply the demand. Hundreds and thousands of these sentient creatures come under fire every year. Their tusks, ruthlessly butchered from their faces to feed the bottomless pit that the ivory demand has become. Elephants and other wildlife are irreplaceable riches and have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.
Every muscle in my body tightens, and my mind screams at me. THIS IS WRONG and it is UNACCEPTABLE. As human beings, can they not see that what they are doing is morally wrong? These magnificent and sentient creatures are more compassionate than the human predators that are wrecking such destruction and havoc. In 2012, some 35 000 elephants were cruelly slaughtered to feed the demand for ivory. With China and Thailand’s increasing affluence, as well as an expanding middle class elsewhere in Asia, the demand for ivory and rhino horn is out of control. When the two-legged being gets greedy, the animals will disappear: sad but true.
We all need to turn east and face the dawn. Our beloved African bush and walking treasures are under attack. We, as compassionate and caring people can play a part in the fight against poaching, no matter how small. My heart and passion lies firmly with these magnificent animals no matter in which country they leave their footprints on the sand. I am also patriotic about my home country Zimbabwe and have been privileged enough to have spent many sun kissed days on Kariba and in the Zambezi valley where in both destinations, we have been fortunate enough to witness these giants on many occasion. I do all that I can do to raise awareness of the rampant poaching sweeping through the continent. I also raise awareness for Chengeta Wildlife whose mission is to empower local law enforcement in Africa in the fight against the poaching of Elephants.
One last thought, ‘as the warm rays of sun pay their last respects to what has been a glorious day in this sun burnt land, the heavy silence of loss ushers twilight into darkness. The African bush could be facing a future minus the very essence that adds to its magic.’
ODE TO SATAO…(my poem)