Drenched In Moonlight….

The African bush in sunsets golden hue…..a magical place full of different species of

animals, bird life and insects.

Elephants help maintain forest and savanna ecosystems for other species, and are integrally tied to rich biodiversity.

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Beyond the edge of the sunsets golden hue

Dusty evening hangs motionless….nightfall soon due

Crickets thrum to an African beat

An endless sky of stars twinkle….as night time they greet

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Africa’s bush drenched in ethereal moon light

The hoarse cough of a leopard…..a night jar takes flight

Rich heady scents linger….beguiled by the silvery moon

A throaty roar of a lion….a deep reverberating boom

The mighty baobab….ghostly in its stance

Mystical and Ancient….holds the power to enhance

The liquid murmur of a river….a tumultuous flow

Moon beams float gently…casting an eerie glow

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As moonlight slumbers….a thousand watchful eyes

A gilt edged dawn as darkness dies

Blades of grass adorned with tears of morning dew

Clear and iridescent….the sun light peeks through

Birds stretching their wings…soaring the invisible breeze

Nature’s melodies in the leaves rustling through the trees

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Faithful Askaris flank his creased and weathered old sides

Youthful and strong….majestic in their strides

Thick powerful trunks swaying…back and forth with ease

Flaunting their strength….large ears fanning the breeze

Creamy scythe like tusks bejewel their proud and noble heads

Pondering the rhythm of life with each silent tread

Drawn into deep shadows…softened by a golden gauzy haze

Wrapped in cloaks of solace….they embrace the mellow day

Caressing bones and sharing sorrow where elephants have once bled

Their existence hanging in the balance….A fragile life thread

Man….a well groomed predator setting a destructive pace

Devouring nature’s riches from this magical place

CHENGETA WILDLIFE

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We strengthen those who protect wildlife and promote harmony between

man and nature through a philosophy of respect….

Future Custodians

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A feeling of warmth embraces me despite the chilly blustery breath of winter that leaves frozen kisses on the nape of my neck. Pushing my hands deeper into the toasty pockets of my warm coat I quicken my steps, bending into the wind. I smile brightly at the two young students who bounce up to the playground gate to welcome me in with twinkling eyes and cheerful voices. I wend my through the noisy happy silence shredding playground into the warmth of the reception area where I sign in before rubbing my numb hands, trying to get the blood circulating. I am met by the lovely teacher, Rebecca who also greets me warmly and we both disappear down the corridor and into the bright and uplifting classroom.

I take a seat allowing my eyes to roam around the room enjoying the colourful artwork beaming down from the walls…..a little piece of every child’s personality brightening up the room.

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‘I really want to go to my extra maths lesson.’ I can hear the pleading in his voice. His shoulders sag in defeat at the gentle but firm response.’

My heart flutters madly in my chest….’No pressure.’ I whisper to myself. I always did like a challenge and hoped that this young boy would enjoy the afternoon. My tongue suddenly feels a little dry as the inner folds of my cheeks glue to the roof of my mouth. I can feel 23 pairs of mischievous eyes on mine as a shy ray of sunshine breaks free from the gray cloud and spills gently through the classroom window. These children had spent precious time that morning looking at ‘Chengeta Wildlifes’ website, and watching and listening to a clip of Rory Young talking about the problems facing our wildlife….and they are ready for me this afternoon.

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I start to talk, knowing that I need to grab their attention within a few words. I lead them back in time to my first memory of seeing a dead elephant and I can see their eyes widen in surprise and shock and despite the sound of my voice, I can also hear the veld gently breathing and feel the warm sun embracing my bare arms.  Almost an hour later we are still discussing not only the magnificent African elephant but Chengeta Wildlife, my blog and the different words and phrases I use to appeal to my readership.

This class of hungry minds fill me with unblemished optimism. They are the future custodians of this magical planet that we all share. If I can help them to see as the eagle sees, we will improve our impact on this world we call earth. Two hours of lively interaction with these wonderful young people is like balm for the soul and again I cannot talk highly enough at the quality of teaching and the respect shown to me by the children.

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I take great pleasure in sharing three short essays with you all. Megan (9), Ben (10) and Amelie (11), and I can feel my heart bursting with pride…such incredible insight, depth and wonderful powers of description from all of them. Ben, I am pleased to say…stayed with the class….he did not go to his extra maths lesson and has written an amazing piece of work. Please enjoy and feel free to comment as they will be reading this blog.

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Megan (aged 9)

Do you need ivory ornaments?  No. People don’t need to kill elephants for beautiful jewellery, because there is already something beautiful out here. To kill a whole elephant just for its tusks is cruel. These creatures are heart-warming and have emotions too. There are only 400 000 elephants left in Africa and one hundred die every day. We need to act quickly. If this carries on, I’ll be telling tales of when elephants were alive when I’m older. I don’t want to do that. I want to tell tales of how we managed to save the elephants from near extinction.

When I saw a clip of elephants helping each other to get the baby out of the water, I realised how much like humans they are.  Some elephants policed the area whilst others guided the baby out of the water. It was amazing how elephants worked as a team, just like we would if we were trying to get a baby out of the water.

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Ben (aged 10)

Why do elephants deserve to die?  They don’t.

So why do we kill them?  So that some rich person can wear an ivory trinket.

Over one hundred elephants die every day due to greed and poaching.

Poaching is a monstrosity that should be stopped.

When the matriarch, the leader of the herd dies, the rest of the herd may go delinquent, meaning that they will run and destroy villages, causing the whole herd to be shot, and why? All because one poacher shot a wizened old elephant for a tusk.

Imagine that you are in the bush, imagine that you wake up in the morning, to find this: I fall to my knees, tears falling down my cheeks, an elephant, stone dead at my knees. Halfway up its flank is a small round hole. Its tusk is gone, and this poor creature is dead, and why? I look up, squinting my eyes into the bright early morning sun. And to my horror I see lying on the horizon the body of yet another dead elephant. I swear that I will come back here, for the elephants of Hwange need our help. For they are declining, one every fifteen minutes.

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Amelie (aged 11)

Why do elephants deserve to die? They don’t. These heart-warming creatures have strong emotions but now unfortunately have to watch every step they take along the scalding dusty ground. As most of us now know, one hundred elephants die every day and fewer are born.

Plodding along, the elephants police their young, making sure they are following the almighty, knowledgeable leader, guiding them to the next safe stop.

At their next stop the young elephants have hungry minds and venture through the unknown canopy of trees that haven’t got their exotic green raincoats on because they have been scolded by the forceful sun. Once the youngsters stop they dance and skip around like young children in the playground.

As for the teenage elephants, left alone they are a delinquent gang, chilling in the sun, squirting cool refreshing water over each other.  Soon after their fun stops for the wise old elephants are ready to start their next trek into the exhausted horizon.

Whilst on their trek the leader picks up on danger warnings echoing all over Africa’s deserted plains.  These valuable elephants can pick up a warning from a very far distance, a bit like humans and their mobile phones.

After the warning, despite being gentle creatures, these grey, wrinkly animals are prepared to fight in one big mass of power, making great swirls of gold dust. I can now see why Jenny is hypnotized by these tremendous animals.

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I now look forward to my next visit to this magical classroom where I will be reading and looking at their ‘blogs’. How exciting is this?

Only by listening can we hear the desperate cries from the ever declining population of wildlife. Become part of the solution….look at our ‘Chengeta Wildlife’ website, like our Chengeta Wildlife face book page, share it and help if you can.

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Ensuring A Future

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I was approached about six weeks ago and asked if I would be prepared to share some descriptive writing passages from my Jennys Jumbo Jargon with a class of 9 to 10 year olds during their English lesson. I was thrilled. I spent roughly two and a half hours with this class full of hungry minds and I was captivated by Rebecca’s teaching methods and how responsive and inter-active the children were.

This coming Wednesday 25th, I am going back to this same class of children to talk to them about my blog, elephants and Chengeta Wildlife. We will then read through a couple of extracts from a few of my blogs and discuss their purpose, how they persuade and the different choices of vocabulary etc. I am beside myself with excitement at sharing my passion of Africa’s untamed splendour where earth drifts into heaven, elephants and of course Chengeta Wildlife…which I am honoured to be a part of.

One only has to look at the shrinking natural world to know that something has gone sadly amiss. This group of children that I will be spending time with are a minute part of the future and as custodians of the planet they need to embrace kindness and respect towards this earth. I have been privileged to grow up in this timeless land and can close my eyes at any given time and smell the sweet breath of the warm wind as it scoops up the flaxen dust before freckling it over my sun browned arms. I can listen carefully and hear the veld gently breathing before the silence shredding cicadas fill the afternoon. The feeling of awe and heart pounding joy of being in the presence of elephants as they rumble past leaving you with a warm musky scent of Africa filling your nostrils is tucked away safely…and brought out for those quiet times. There is a joy and curiosity in the delicate sun rays peeping through the wet canopy of trees and I am hoping for the same results from these kids on Wednesday.

I want them to close their eyes and fall under the spell of these ancient beings…to surrender and to be encompassed by the invisible aura that surrounds these magnificent animals and to share and feel their presence even though we are 7 000 miles away. I want these children to feel the magic that these animals exude as they reach deep into the human soul in a mysterious and mystifying way.

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Elephants are the largest land mammals on earth and also the most emotionally human. The breeding herd of females are led by the matriarch, a wise mature female whose herd rely totally on her experience, memory and good leadership to survive. These breeding herds will live and form bonds that are forged over fifty years and once the matriarch dies, the leadership is normally passed onto one of her daughters who has learnt the necessary skills to take on this important position in the herd. Their intricate and complex family values rival our own and these enormous creatures carry their large heavy hearts on their sleeves. The noisy exuberance and trumpeting of baby elephants at a waterhole will mirror the behaviour of a group of young human children in a play ground as both species tussle and push…overjoyed at the freedom of space and sunshine around them. Compare a sulking 10 year old elephant to a sulking 10 year old human…there are such close similarities in the rate of growth and behaviour of the different personalities in both species. The joy of a new family member and the gut wrenching sorrow of death affects both elephants and humans in the same way. There is something special and endearing about elephant calves they exude the very essence of life.

We will discuss the evils of this rampant destruction sweeping through the sun kissed bush of the Continent devouring these magnificent animals and other wildlife with the hunger and ferocious appetite of a Tsunami wave. Plants and all living creatures are functioning parts of the ecosystem and nature should be our teacher….and our guide. I will see the frowns on their little faces as I tell them that 100 elephants are killed every day..frozen in time… forever. This amounts to one every 15 minutes…all slaughtered for ivory bracelets, trinkets, chops sticks and carvings. We will examine the ‘true cost of ivory trinkets’. We will have a brief look at how the poaching is breaking the continuity of information that is passed down through the generations…information that is vital to the well being stability of the herd..

I will explain that I spend so many hours of my spare time writing my blogs and poetry as I cannot sit idle…pretending that this tragedy is not happening. Apathy is the biggest danger facing these sentient giants and other endangered species.

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The class will have spent time before my arrival having a look at the Chengeta Wildlife website. I will discuss the fact that Rory is a dad of two who is passionate about the wildlife and dedicated to preserving the African biodiversity. Rory has the knowledge, skills and ability to train the ‘anti poaching units’ in the different African countries enabling these rangers to confront the horrific and urgent problems of poaching head on. He is a selfless man driven by an urgency to share his knowledge to protect….not only the wildlife but the rangers themselves whose lives are at risk from these violent and ruthless poaching syndicates whose eyes are steaming in their own malice.  I am on Chengeta Wildlife’s board of directors and a part of our mission is to raise funds to enable Rory Young to share his knowledge and skills throughout Africa. We are an important part of creating a future for these animals…ensuring that your children will not be asking in 20 years time why elephants, lions and rhinos are only found in zoos.

These children will then discuss any other environmental challenges needing attention..deforestation, plight of the polar bears in the Arctic and I will be sharing some of their work with you all in the near future. Wish me luck and please keep sharing our Chengeta Wildlife website. Wednesday will be good practice before our presentation at a Rotarian dinner in March.

WE ALL HAVE A VOICE…HELP TO RAISE THE AWARENESS. YOU TOO CAN SUPPORT CHENGETA WILDLIFE.

The Stain Of Shame

‘How can you look the other way?’ I feel my voice trembling with emotion and my heart threatens to leap right out of my chest. ‘You can’t tell me that there is nothing that I can personally do in regard to this poaching.’ I stare long and hard at my colleague.

A pair of dark blue eyes stare at me from over the desk. ‘Do you think that you are making a difference?’ I detect a scornful amusement creasing her mouth. ‘Do people read what you are writing?’

‘Please sit for five minutes. I want to share something with you.’ I dig deep into my computer bag, and push a photograph towards her. ‘Have a look at this.’ A disturbing image of a small herd of mutilated and bloated elephant carcasses jump off the page. I watch as a look of distaste and horror flashes across her face, and then the curtain comes down and she looks away. I turn the photo face down, tapping her arm to get her attention and begin to talk, my voice low and full of emotion.

‘An ancient life force pulsates through the trees snapping branches in the sun fried bush. Pausing momentarily, the matriarch sweeps her powerful trunk across the sky inhaling the sweet breath of the balmy wind, her large tattered ears fanning the breeze. Rumbling gently, she encourages her herd to follow as she leads them over the raw African earth into the warm sticky evening. Under the grotesque limbs of the ‘listening tree’ (baobab) she halts, her muscles taut and her insides trembling. The smoke from a mopani fire teases her senses and the whine of flies shreds the quietness. She can smell humans and feels lonely and vulnerable under the African sky, aware that mortality is shadowing her and the herd.  The last solitary finger of sunshine catches her beautiful tusks, causing them to glow with warmth and life before she turns in the her quiet way, alert and ready: protective of her family.’

I look up and her blue eyes are fixed firmly on mine.

‘The ‘kkkkkkkkkk’ growl of automatic gunfire slices the air. Elephants scream in fear and agony as they are cut down with alarming precision turning their peaceful world into one where they are crushed under the heels of supposed civilization. Heartbeats on the run as bullets slam into vulnerable flesh and trees explode in the cross fire. The matriarch lies gasping for breath, heart pounding with fear and her lungs heaving as she struggles for life. Her death gargle bubbles through the trees where the bodies of her magnificent family lie strewn through the bush, their wounds weeping and bleeding onto the dry raw soil. With her death a deadly quiet descends: disturbed only by the victory cries of the humans who approach, axes in hand and hungry for the ‘white gold’. They view the carnage of a family mown down and left among the bullet shells…with nothing more than blood lust in their eyes.

A small calf peers out from the thick jesse bush. With heart bashing against her ribcage and shaky steps, she settles near her mother’s body, her small trunk caressing and feeling, desperate to wake the large elephant. From the deep bush, the hysterical ‘whoop whoop’ of the hyena announces their scavenging  arrival. The large tree with its peeling bark stares down…a silent witness to the evenings mayhem.’

I have been totally lost in my narration of this tragedy unfolding and become aware that my colleague is crying. She dabs at her nose with a tissue and stares at me.

‘Where did you get all that information about the elephants in that photo from?’

‘That scenario is what is happening to elephants throughout Africa. They are being slaughtered in their hundreds. One hundred a day are being killed …and all to make jewelry and trinkets.’ I stare at her. ‘For me to look the other way…I can’t.’ I feel my face burn. ‘The Stain of Shame..is what I call it.’

 

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20 000 elephants were poached in Africa last year and this figure far exceeds the rate of growth. Southern Africa is fast becoming the last stronghold for these sentient animals on the continent.Tens of thousands of miles away, carvers are carving these pieces of  ivory into ‘art work’ to feed the demand for trinkets and jewelry. Each carving represents the above scene and consumers need to become aware that behind every intricate piece of carved ivory, there is a story……a bloody barbaric story.’  For those that are lucky to survive these attacks..there can be serious injuries.

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To those fueling the demand which in turn fuels the destruction, do you have any idea of the chaos and destruction left behind, rotting in the vast wilderness of sun kissed grass and sturdy trees of Africa.  Please say no to ivory and help to save these magnificent and sentient animals from extinction.  The 12th August represents world elephant day. Let us all stand united and avert a huge tragedy. Have a look at this link….‘The True Cost of IvoryTrinkets is an infographic in Chinese and English to help raise awareness on the rampant poaching of elephants. This infographic was created for Chengeta Wildlife.

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Humans: stop being so preoccupied with you. We appear to be unable to comprehend and feel compassion for the other sentient creatures that share this valuable planet with us. We are now being forced to look at ourselves. I know that I find myself apologising on behalf of humankind and feel an excruciating shame at the way the wildlife is being destroyed I do not believe that we hold exclusive rights to dignity and freedom…

Banning the sale of ivory for retailers in China…would…halt the trade. Banning the sale of ivory for carvers in China..would mean a vanishing of what they call a ‘unique art’. Banning the sale of ivory for elephants represents LIFE….they are not to be turned into ‘Melancholy Figurine.’ (My Poem)

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Enlightening The Oldies

I love my life here in the UK and feel incredibly blessed to be able to make a living. This journey I am on and the wonderful people I am meeting in person and also through face book  all adds to the excitement of taking a stance against wildlife crime in the best way I know how. I work in an Assisted Living Complex and over the last three years have made time to get to know and respect our residents. I am amazed at how many of them have ties of some sort to my beautiful home country, Zimbabwe.  OF course, the conversation strangely enough gets around to elephants, and at least half of them have had the wonderful experience of seeing these animals in the wild. However, very few of them were aware of the rampant poaching sweeping through Africa, until I started my journey. Since I started sharing my precious memories with them all, I now receive newspaper cuttings, magazine cuttings and all sorts of tidbits concerning Zimbabwe’s beleaguered elephants, rhinos and other endangered species. Sometimes I end up with three of four cuttings of the same article, and I just smile and thank each of them. A few of them call me ‘elephant girl’ which makes me at 55 years of age smile.

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What is the bush like?’ is a question I am often asked and I have to admit that I do feel a painful stretching of my heart.

‘Zimbabwe is a wild garden pulsating with life.’ I again feel the hot dry air rushing into my lungs and the warm sultry heat that saturates every inch of my body. I smile at the memories of the african people with their dark tightly knitted curls, solemn dark eyes and ready smiles. There is not a night that goes by where the setting sun does not whisper a promise for tomorrow and the golden horizons herald a new morning.  The vast blue skies  smile down on this Eden teeming with wildlife of every description.

‘Have you camped in the bush?’ Blue eyes, worn over time stare at me.

‘The morning mist rises with summer laziness and the wild sweet decay of elephant dung fills your nostrils. Our favourite fishing spot in the Zambezi valley is a place that steals your heart. I have slept out side under a mosquito net, all be it with a thumping heart. A myriad of stars light up the night sky and the serenading of crickets and birds lulls you into a deep sleep. A low frequency purr that you can feel rather than hear alerts you to the fact that a gigantic presence is blocking out the night sky. Fold upon fold of wrinkled skin is close enough to reach out and touch. My heart bolts like a runaway train and my mouth is so dry that the inner folds are stuck to my teeth. The earthy sweet odour clogs my nostrils and the elation of being in the presence of an elephant fills me with a life changing euphoria.’ I shake my head, holding this particular memory close to my heart.

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‘You have to see the golden dawn and the hear the liquid murmur of the fast flowing Zambezi river. There is nothing more enchanting than a steaming hot cup of tea and a vast river to leave you with summer contentment and idle thoughts. The grunts from the aquatic ballet dancers (hippos) as they frolic in the water ,watchful and at times bad tempered. Along the bank the old dugger boy (buffalo) slurps thirstily, a mean look in his rheumy old eye. He is a walking smorgasbord for the tick birds that in turn provide him with a free bug and tic cleaning service.’ I smile. ‘You have to hear the baboon cursing each other with loud angry barks. You have to see to appreciate the weaver bird nests decorating low hanging branches and African skimmers and white fronted plovers. Mosquitoes, sun creams, biltong and beer all form a delightful partnership with camping on the Zambezi river. Beware the crocodiles with their slit eyes and lethal jaws.’

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I continue to enthuse, my eyes lighting up and burning as bright as the African sun. There is a powerful pulsing of African through my veins as I think of this vast continent. My eyes dull as I think of the troubles facing the continent. A continent that is also weeping. The continent with an emptiness at her centre that I find disturbing.

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I tell them that behind every piece of ivory there is a story, a bloody barbaric story. I talk about the callous way these animals are slaughtered and left to rot in the sun. We talk about how sentient these animals are and what it does to young animals who witness these fullscale killings.  The plight of the rhino is also a subject that is foremost on my mind. I tell them about Thandi the rhino and show them the link. Then we also talk about canned hunting and the fact that these lion cubs are hand reared for shooting and I can see these old folk shake their heads, a horrified look in their eyes.  

‘You are doing a good job.’ They tell me. 

‘Thank you, but I need to do more.’ Is my reply. 

An arthritic hand with dry crepe skin reaches out, cool to the touch and a gentle voice brings me back to the present. ‘Thank you for sharing those precious moments with us.’ She coughs gently, clearing her throat. ‘Who will look after these places that you describe? How many animals are left now? It is such a long time since you were home.’ 

‘There are so many amazing people out there putting their lives on the line to protect this heritage.’ I pull out my phone and show them the photos of Rory Young and Chengeta Wildlife. (Their face book page. Please like and share.) I tell them that Rory has already volunteered much of his time in providing much needed training to wildlife protection teams. Violent groups in the region have now started to look to the ivory trade to fund terrorist activities. Rory is implementing a full time, comprehensive training program to provide the rangers with the resources they need to carry out their important work and has now formed a partnership with  ALERT. 

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It is a life changing experience for the rangers who are witness to the ‘desolation’ long after the poached animal has unburdened its enormous wrinkled body into a spiritual updraft of lightness. Sadly for these animals death does not always come in a single violent stroke.

For me, I am going to continue to raise awareness on the plight of the elephants, rhinos and other endangered species through my poetry and blog. The Baobab, A silent witness (my poem)

Rangers vs Poachers

I often think back to the day when I was told that there was absolutely nothing that I as an individual could do to help in this continual fight against the evils of poaching. All to often we close our minds to the blood red streaks that mar our African landscape. While the world watches, the images of butchered animals, bodies slightly bloated and legs suspended up in the air leap out of the computer or television, eyes staring unseeingly: pleading for somebody to take notice.

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I cannot sit and do nothing. I feel their pain and anguish and beg all of you, ‘courage does not always need to be a huge roar.’ I started jennysjumbojargon in November 2013 with the thought of putting into words through poetry about the continual attack on these animals. I describe the pain and torment that these creatures must feel: this flanks me, the acrid smell of gunfire and the metallic taste of blood that clogs my throat. This is not a violent storm that has bullied its way into the African bush. This is a dark menacing chaos of greed, corruption and destruction. These ruthless killers are turning the African bush into a wild sweltering inferno, flames devouring any animal with tusks or horns. These animals are being hemmed in by a force of angry heat and unrelenting attacks. At the rate these pachyderms are being poached, mortality shadows them and it does not matter how large or small their personal treasure.

I would love to be in a position to stop the demand. All I can do is to share work done by others, support all the wildlife groups and leave that enormous part of the problem to those that have clout. Yao Ming and Jackie Chan are doing amazing work to raise awareness in the Asian countries on the plight of the African elephants and rhinos.

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And then of course we have the good men on the ground. Those bush warriors who put their lives on the line to ensure the safety of the wildlife.

It is a life changing experience for the rangers who are witness to the ‘desolation’ long after the poached animal has unburdened its enormous wrinkled body into a spiritual updraft of lightness. Sadly for these animals death does not always come in a single violent stroke.

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Rory Young is not only a wildlife tracker and activist who has been fighting against the dark and hungry shadows of poaching all his life, he is also a prolific and exceptional writer.  Born in Zambia and brought up in different parts of Africa, he learnt to treat the earth well, reading the signs and stories left by different animals and humans in the bush. He managed to blend in with the natural surroundings that had become his playground and feasting on the wonders of nature. The songs and calls of the bush speak to him.  The passion for the bush never left him and he decided to make it his life’s work to combat the poaching problem.

“I found that the very people who had knocked back the poaching in the 90’s were now old, or were replaced with younger, less experienced people who had grown up after the liberation wars and counter insurgency operations of my generation and who had had no training or experience in the very skills needed to win. Very few could track properly and almost none knew how to follow-up poacher spoor as an effective team. Furthermore, the will to win was gone and there was no money because there was also no publicity about what was happening.”

Africa needs many more teams on the ground, doing the actual anti-poaching work. Without them there is really no hope.

Rory has already volunteered much of his time in providing much needed training to wildlife protection teams, but violent groups in the region have now started to look to the ivory trade to fund terrorist activities. Rory is now seeking to implement a full time, comprehensive training program and provide the rangers with the resources they need to carry out their important work.

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Chengeta Wildlife.org was started by Lisa Groenweg of Rock Valley, Iowa.

Chengeta Wildlife is a group of people from around the world who formed a nonprofit organization to support Rory Young and the work he does. He has skills and knowledge that the teams protecting wildlife badly need to protect themselves and wildlife. If enough funding is generated we would like to purchase tactical equipment needed by the teams. Things like night vision goggles, thermal sensing equipment and motion sensing cameras. Chengeta Wildlife is run by volunteers. So far 100% of funds raised have gone directly to the field where it is desperately needed. WE HAVE ZERO OVERHEAD COSTS!

Like Lisa, we too can do our bit to help combat the horrors of poaching. Collectively, we can ensure the continuation of Chengeta Wildlife’s ability to adequately train and equip the necessary new generation of rangers required to assist the continuation of the circle of life in elephants within their natural habitats in Africa.

Some people may think it is too late, but where there are elephants and other wildlife….there is hope. Let’s all give a growl of thunder. (My poem)

True Essence of humanity

How do you even begin to try and find words that describe an icon like Lawrence Anthony. To me he was ‘the true essence of humanity’. From a mystical point of view, I can only describe him as having achieved a perfect blending of a physical being with a pure non-physical soul.

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From reading about his incredible journey with the wild herd of elephants (The Elephant Whisperer) on his game reserve Thula Thula in Zululand, South Africa, you get a strong sense of his integrity. He abhorred destruction and hatred. He was connected with greater things and greater understandings. Lawrence Anthony was able to see the wonder and miracle of life on this planet. He was able to see the sheer magnificence of this world that we as humans appear to be so incompetent at sharing. He knew that the earth and all her inhabitants were to be treasured.

As we look around the world today, we can’t help but observe that not only are  humans destroying millions of their own kind in the name of politics, power and religion, they are also hell bent on annihilating animal life and the environment. Both violence towards people and animals for many of the two legged beings has become a socially acceptable form of human behaviour: sadly, a way of life.

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Lawrence Anthony, in my mind was guided by a pureness of spirit, non-violence and compassion towards all living things. He was passionate about people, animals and the environment.

In his book Babylons Ark, the incredible rescue of the Baghdad Zoo, this amazing man wrote:

The prophets of doom are already saying it is too late, that the crude and uniformed impact of man on the planet’s life systems is just too great and that we don’t have enough time to turn it all around. I don’t happen to agree, but I do know that we are entering the endgame. Unless there is a swift and marked change in our attitudes and actions, we could well be on our way to becoming an endangered species.’

Powerful words from a special man who sadly left this earth too early.

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Lawrence Anthony was an icon in the environmentalist movement. One of his legacies ‘Earth Organisation’: a non profit, non partisan organisation aimed at reversing the dwindling spiral of life on earth and creating a healthy and habitable planet on which all life has the right to thrive and prosper.

Lawrence Anthony was 61 years old when he died of a heart attack. He was taken before his planned conservation gala dinner in Durban aimed at raising international awareness of the Rhino poaching pandemic and to launch his new book, ‘The last Rhinos’.

In April, 2012, he was posthumously awarded honorary Doctor of Science degree by College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal.[5]

On his passing, the two wild elephant herds trekked through the Zululand bush until they reached the house of this compassionate man who had saved their lives. This man, who was known as ‘The Elephant Whisperer’, a legend to more than those whose paths he had crossed, was being shown the ultimate love and respect from these sentient animals who had looked into his very being and found the pureness in this man.

The world and it’s inhabitants has lost a great spirit, and one of natures true warriors, who restored more than just a herd of elephant’s faith in mankind.

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BOOKS BY LAWRENCE ANTHONY (Information below from Wikipedia)

‘Anthony is a bestselling author and his books have been translated into several languages. His brother-in-law, Graham Spence co-authored his three books.[5]

Anthony’s first book Babylon’s Ark, published by Thomas Dunne Books, is the true story of the wartime rescue of the Baghdad Zoo. Babylon’s Ark has won literary awards including the Booklist Editors Choice in the category adult books for young adults, and the French 28th Prix Littéraire 30 Millions d’Amis literary award, popularly known as the Goncourt for animals.

Anthony’s second book, The Elephant Whisperer, published by Pan Macmillan, tells the story of his adventures and relationship with a rescued herd of African elephants.

Anthony’s third book, The Last Rhinos, published by Sidgwick & Jackson, is the true story of Anthony’s involvement to rescue the remaining Northern White Rhinos in the DR Congo.’

 

Awards and recognitions[edit]

  • The Global Nature Fund, Living Lakes Best Conservation Practice Award, for “A remarkable contribution to nature conservation and environmental protection.”
  • The Earth Day medal presented at the United Nations by the Earth Society for his rescue of the Baghdad Zoo.
  • The Earth Trustee Award.
  • The US Army 3rd Infantry, Regimental medal for bravery in Iraq during the Coalition invasion of Baghdad.
  • The Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship for outstanding contribution to the ideals of Rotary.
  • The IAS Freedom Medal.
  • The Umhlatuzi Mayoral Award for Outstanding Community Service.
  • Member of the governing council of the Southern Africa Association for the Advancement of Science.[4]
  • International membership, the Explorers Club of New York.
  • At a presentation in Washington, DC in March 2009, respected international journalist Tom Clynes named South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony amongst his six most impressive and influential people in a lifetime of reporting. Other names on the list include such luminaries as Sir Edmund Hillary

WHY DO PEOPLE BUY IVORY?

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The African bush with all it’s russet trimmings and natural treasures sneaks in and steals your heart. It leaves you drifting in tranquil moments and golden sunsets.  Deep wells of memories and desires weave a bridge between the future and the past. When you leave the bush behind, you yearn for those vast blue skies and horizons that drift into heaven. For those of you who have been fortunate enough to meet with these magnificent giants in the African bush and have been privileged enough to catch a glimpse of the elephants unwavering honesty, compassion and intelligence will never forget that moment, or them. Elephants, for me are the essence of Africa and a great subject for debate.

What is it about elephants that makes humans want to own a piece of them? I’ve left my home country with a heart full of precious memories and many photographs. Others leave with an arm tinkling with carved ivory bracelets or other trinkets taken from these ‘enigmatic animals.’ Is it that they 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 don’t 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 these elongated cone like shapes of dentine so highly sought after?

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Ivory, when it is dead has an uneasy splendour 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 elephant herds who supply the demand. Hundreds and thousands of these sentient creatures are slaughtered and mutilated to feed the demand. Elephants and other wildlife are irreplaceable riches and have no where to run and nowhere to hide. (My poem)

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We all need to turn east and face the dawn before our beloved African bush is denuded of it’s walking riches. The African bush could be facing a future minus the very essence that adds to it’s magic. Stand tall and act with compliance. Say no to ivory. Help to save our elephants.