The Evil World of Snaring


The sun, a fiery ball in the sky glares down on the parched valley.  Shimmering heat waves ripple through the dry Jesse bush as small leaves whirl majestically glinting in the bright sunshine. The huge baobab, looking like it has been ripped from the harsh earth and planted upside down dwarfs the small herd of elephants idling away the hottest hours of the day. Their gentle rumbles resonate through the midday quiet, and their large ears gently fan the breeze keeping body temperatures down.  Large wrinkled bodies imprint shadows on the sun baked earth and a small colony of ants stop their military parade to take refuge in the shade. The midday peace, scorched by the hot sun lulls the scene into lazy drowsiness, disturbed only by the low hum of mopani flies and midges desperately hovering, irritatingly persistent in their quest for moisture from the eyes.

The quiet of the early afternoon erupts as frenzied and tormented cries shreds the hot air. The earlier peace turns into a scene of chaos and discordant screams, as the small elephant has his trunk entangled within ‘the wires of death.’ (A snare)

How quickly this little elephants life will change. But he does survive. Read the poem on ‘Short Trunk’ and see a photograph of him.


Snaring is totally indiscriminate: it’s victims all suffering the same agonising death.  Animals that encounter the ruthless genius of the wire slip knot find themselves in a painful and precarious position. In their panic and attempt to break free, the wire noose tightens: either cutting off their air supply (if it is around their neck)  or it tightens around a limb or their body. The more the animal struggles, the tighter the noose becomes, cutting deeply into the flesh, often going down to the bone. Swelling and infection set in and with the restriction of circulation, gangrene will take hold. An excruciating death will follow.


For the lucky ones who are found by Rangers, (Angels of mercy) the snare is removed and they are pumped full of antibiotics (see more.….) Read the article and see the pictures of young bull elephant. He is saved from a painful death.

Pachyderms: Natures perfect creations

Pachyderms, to me are one of  ‘Natures’  perfect creations. These immense and soulful creatures have captured my heart, and I am hoping you will allow them to creep in and capture yours too.

They are the largest land animals on the planet, wearing their (up to 45 pound) hearts on their sleeve. Their wrinkled expressions: fold upon fold of wisdom, compassion and love. It does not matter which subspecies I am talking about, their behavior patterns are similar.  Scientists have found after years of research that elephants are capable of complex thought and deep feelings. An elephants emotional attachment towards their family members could rival our own. They have no problem in lifting their trunks and smelling the rain just because they can for the sheer joy of doing so. These large ambling sentient beings ooze with  personality and a beauty from within.

One of the biggest events in the elephant family, of course is the birth of a new calf.  Please click on the link and read the short poem.  From my poem, you get a sense of the excitement surrounding this occasion, and the bonding and lovebetween the cows. (Some fantastic photos to have a look at re: cows forming a protective wall around a cow giving birth.)

The calf will be raised within this warm and caring environment, learning life skills from all the females in the Matriarchal herd. Young aunties or elder siblings will take on baby sitting duties and this all important for their development, preparing them for the responsibilities of ‘Motherhood.’

The Matriarch will be replaced by one of her daughters (normally the eldest) when she dies. The intense loyalties and deep love and caring are fundamental to the survival of the herd. Young bulls will leave the herd between the ages of 12 and 15 years. They will either join up with a bachelor herd or lead a solitary existence.

Elephant family units will split, normally due to a shortage of food in the area. These families remain united, and will meet up at watering holes and favourite feeding spots. Meeting up with members from the other unit is also cause for celebration. They begin to call out to each other from a quarter of a mile away. Getting closer, they pick up the pace with temporal glands streaming. Once they have spotted each other, they start to run: a large mass of bubbling exuberance and noisy splendor. Making contact through a swirl of dust, these mighty creatures embrace: ears flapping, tusks clicking, leaning into and rubbing each other: all the while urinating and defecating. Spinning in circles, they encompass the world with their joy and a cacophony of trumpeting screams  and rumbles shred the air. Happiness and joyful is their reunion.


These magnificent giants can protect their families and themselves against scavengers and most predators.

Their biggest fight for survival is against man, his guns, his greed and the corruption.

Every time you purchase ivory, an elephant has been killed.  Elephant families are left bereft. Orphans, are left without the guidance they need from their elders.

We all hold the power in our hands: NO TO IVORY.. Let us ensure the survival of these sentient creatures.


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



My granddaughter, who is six years old asked me why I get so upset with people selling ‘elephants teeth’ as she calls them.  I sat her down and told her that sometimes an elephant’s tusk will break off, and that is acceptable, but there are people who kill these big majestic creatures for their tusks: and that is unacceptable.  She asked why they would do that and I told her that they do it for money.  With little worry lines creasing between her eyes, she looked long and hard at me, ‘why don’t they get a job like you and grampie,  and mummy and daddy?’  Good question, and too complicated to explain to a six year old.  However, it did get me thinking.  How ignorant or misinformed are people about ivory tusks?


After a bit of delving, I  found out that 40% of the ivory market is going into China.  I wondered if Chinese people were aware of the dreadful atrocities committed to satisfy their need for trinkets and jewelry.  Xiang ya means ivory tusks or ‘elephants teeth’, a lovely roll off your tongue word and depending on the context in which it is used, it can be a word that means a death sentence for an elephant.  After a survey conducted in 2007, 70% of Chinese people taking part in the poll claimed that they had no idea that elephants were slaughtered for their xiang ya. The IFAW embarked on a graphic advertising campaign to raise awareness on what happens to the elephants…in order for them, the consumers to buy the product.  A retired NBA star and Chinese icon, Yao Ming, in conjunction with WildAid, Save the Elephants, African Wildlife Foundation and the Yao Ming Foundation has been taking an active part in promoting this awareness, trying to deter the hunger for ivory.  Have a look at his video link.. his twelve day fact finding mission in Kenya and South Africa.


Yao Ming is a large voice.  I decided that every little voice, no matter how small, also counts. My granddaughter tells me that I need to tell all her friends about what is happening to the elephants…and that she thinks I can make a difference, and that is what I plan to do.