What a greedy, selfish race of people we can be at times!
I’m writing about the subject of elephants. Or, to put it more precisely and distastefully, the murder of elephants. For the ivory in their tusks.
The post was prompted by a recent item over on Chris Snuggs’ blog Nemo Insula Est. Chris and I have known each other for quite a few years now; since the time that he was Head of Studies at the French college, ISUGA, in Quimper, France and where I attended as a visiting teacher running a class on Sales & Marketing.
Chris has allowed me to republish the piece in full. Please read today’s post and then come back tomorrow to see in what ways we can all help.
The Human Shame in Northern Kenya
One of my NYRs was to stop reading bad news, but that lasted about 6 hours ….. there is of course so much of it, and so much that is utterly depressing. One of the first of 2014 was an article in “The Independent”:
Elephant Appeal: Few are willing to say just how bad the poaching crisis is – the elephant population may easily fall into terminal decline
You can get all the details from the article – which is pretty harrowing, with surviving elephants described as being “stricken with grief” as they cluster round their slaughtered brethren – but basically, elephants in the Tsavo East National Park in Northern Kenya are under threat of extinction from poachers from Somalia. This provoked a number of reactions on my part:
- The price of ivory depends on the demand and supply. The former is very strong and apparently rising, especially in China. For extraordinarily moronic and selfish reasons, ivory is considered artistic and – for example – tiger and rhinoceros parts medicinal and/or possessing aphrodysiac properties.
- Can China really do NOTHING to stop this cultural abomination? People in the west for the most part stopped acquiring ivory years ago.
- If China – and other Asia nations – cannot or will not do anything, should the west not apply more pressure? Same applies of course to China’s support of North Korea. YES, sanctions are painful, but nothing NON-painful is likely to work.
- They are execrable, of course …… and yet, many may be extremely poor, and indeed ignorant. There is no excuse in the strictest sense, but it may to some extent be understandable if they see a chance to make several years’ normal income in a single day. This is no different from City bankers, or indeed the Enron directors and many others: greed is sadly rampant on our planet.
- But the poachers are not only ignorant and destitute farmers: terrorists are now apparently turning to the ivory trade, too.
- There are insufficient funds to patrol the parks properly. Kenya is just one more corrupt African state where politicians earn a fortune while basic needs and services are severely underfunded.
- So, there is a lack of funds to prevent the poacher-killers. Yet a few hundred miles away, vast sums of money are squandered on obscene luxuries.
- Here are photos of the family home of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the former President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi.
- And here is a ludicrously-expensive plane bought by an Arab prince …..
I always wonder what if anything goes through the minds of those who spend these obscene sums on frippery and personal self-glorification. Do they ever think that their money could do immense good elsewhere? Would WE be just the same in their shoes?
Is there any solution to this greed?
Chris wrote his post motivated by the article in The Independent UK newspaper. But that newspaper was not alone in promulgating the despicable killings of these smart and magnificent creatures. Here’s a story that was in the UK Daily Telegraph newspaper a year ago.
Horror as entire family of elephants slaughtered for ivory
Armed wildlife rangers on Tuesday night fanned out across eastern Kenya in pursuit of ivory poachers who killed an entire family of 12 elephants in the country’s worst single such slaughter since the 1980s.
By Mike Pflanz, Nairobi
5:26PM GMT 08 Jan 2013
Eleven adults and one infant calf died in a “targeted and efficient” attack highlighting the growing professionalism of poachers bankrolled by international criminals supplying soaring demand for ivory in the Far East.
Six of the animals lay in one heap, their tusks hacked out with machetes.
None of the family group managed to flee further than 300 yards before they were gunned down and their ivory removed.
The calf, less than a year old, is believed to have been crushed by its dying mother as she fell to the ground.
“It is unimaginable, a heinous, heinous crime,” said Paul Udoto, spokesman for the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
“We have not seen such an incident in recent memory, it’s the worst single loss that we have on record, and our records go back almost 30 years.
“These were professional killers. The attack was targeted and efficient.”
The poachers, armed with automatic rifles, had already fled but there were hopes last night that a massive search involving foot patrols, a dozen vehicles and three aircraft could still find them.
“Every possible resource is being deployed to track down these criminals,” Mr Udoto said. “They will feel the full force of the law.”
But the area where the elephants were killed, in the north of Kenya’s largest wildlife reserve, Tsavo East National Park, is sparsely populated, has few roads, and lies close to Kenya’s border with Somalia.
Privately, conservationists said they feared the poachers and their haul of 22 tusks, worth an estimated GBP175,000 on the Asian market, would already have escaped.
The attack was the latest in a surge of elephant deaths that has seen the number of the animals killed for their ivory in Kenya increase sevenfold in five years, from fewer than 50 in 2007 to 360 in 2012, according to KWS figures.
The increase has led many wildlife experts to declare the current situation a crisis worse even than the mass slaughter of Africa’s elephants in the 1970s and 1980s, which led to a global ivory trade ban in 1989.
I don’t have permission to republish the article so please go here and read the full piece and view a couple of harrowing photographs.
Then come back tomorrow and explore how you and I can do something to help. Please.