Legitimate hope.

It’s too easy to be overwhelmed with negativity.

Many will have read yesterday’s post about the slaughter of elephants by ivory poachers and felt, as I did, a feeling of despair in the pit of one’s soul.  We seem to be living in such challenging times with so much madness about us.  It’s incredibly easy to feel as if this is some sort of ‘end of times’ period.

Today’s post tells us that there is always hope.

Let’s remind ourselves that elephants are very intelligent animals.  As I wrote last November in a post with the title of Smart Animals:

There was a fascinating article on the BBC news website a few weeks ago that went on to explain:

10 October 2013

Elephants ‘understand human gesture’

By Victoria GillScience reporter, BBC News
African elephants have demonstrated what appears to be an instinctive understanding of human gestures, according to UK scientists. In a series of tests, researcher Ann Smet, of the University of St Andrews, offered the animals a choice between two identical buckets, then pointed at the one containing a hidden treat.

From the first trial, the elephants chose the correct bucket.

The results are published in the journal Current Biology.

(The two video clips on the BBC website are really worth watching.)

A story published in the Daily Mail just a few days ago underlines the intelligence of elephants.

This adorable baby elephant had to be rescued by its mother’s huge trunk after it got stuck in the mud while taking a bath.

The youngster was enjoying a quiet dip in the water but became stranded when it struggled to pull itself out of the lake.

He had to be lifted to safety by its mother and her trusty trunk, which acted as a crane as she carried the three-month-old calf out of the water.

Stuck in the mud: The baby elephant slipped while taking a dip and was unable to haul himself out of the lake.
Stuck in the mud: The baby elephant slipped while taking a dip and was unable to haul himself out of the lake.


A mother's touch: Fortunately the calf's mother was able to scoop him up in her trunk and haul him to safety.
A mother’s touch: Fortunately the calf’s mother was able to scoop him up in her trunk and haul him to safety.

The rest of the story may be read here.

Also what needs to be highlighted are the organisations that are actively working on behalf of the elephants.

The Independent Newspaper have their own elephant campaign.

Elephant Crisis

In 2011, more African elephants were killed than any other year in history. The figures for 2012 and 2013 are not yet known, but are likely to be even higher. At current rates, in twelve years, there will be none left.

It is a familiar cause, but it has never been more urgent. Poaching has turned industrial. Armed militia fly in helicopters over jungle clearings, machine gunning down entire herds. Their tusks are then sold to fund war and terrorism throughout the continent and the wider world. Ivory is still illegal, but as China booms, it is more popular than ever.

This campaign will raise money to support rangers on the ground to protect Kenya’s elephants from armed poachers, together with Space for Giants’ longer term work to create new wildlife sanctuaries where elephants will be safe, forever. More can be found about the charity at Space for Giants

The article above includes two videos.  A shorter one that can be viewed on the paper’s campaign website. Then there is a longer, five-minute, video also on YouTube and included below.

Offering a donation to help is only a click away.

Then there is the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust helping animals in Africa. And, finally, the campaign over at Bloody Ivory where one can sign a petition and donate towards stopping elephant poaching.

Thus, like so many aspects of life, never give up trying to help those less fortunate.

Without hope there is nothing.

19 thoughts on “Legitimate hope.

  1. It’s hard to live with elephants, especially in poor, crowded conditions. I remember bathing in Africa as a child with a bull elephant 200 meters away, on the other side of a stream, and being extremely worried, with all in attendance.

    Europe used to have elephants, and North America, two species. Time to reintroduce them, and live according to our discourse.

    Rewilding Euramerica can be done, and should be done, for the deepest philosophical and emotional reasons, and will create new, very productive jobs.


  2. Chris Snuggs emailed me an item that was in the UK’s Guardian newspaper some 12 years ago. Here is a little of that article:

    Western conservation organisations are employing experienced gunmen to hunt down elephant poachers, amid fears of a massive resurgence in ivory poaching across east and central Africa.
    An anti-poaching unit led by a former South African army officer and funded by two foreign conservation groups recently attacked two gangs of poachers in the Central African Republic (CAR), killing one man.

    The initiative seeks to replicate the successful shoot-to-kill policies ordered by Richard Leakey, then head of Kenya’s wildlife agency, during the poaching epidemic of the 80s; but marks a violent departure for wildlife charities.

    “For me it’s been a moral struggle, but sometimes you have to use force to change people’s minds,” said Eric Lindquist of the African Rainforest and Rivers Conservation Organisation (Arrco), the American charity which has set up the anti-poaching unit in cooperation with the CAR government.

    The unit, which is part-funded by a Dutch wildlife trust, the Hans Wasmoeth Wildlife Foundation, consists of three CAR presidential guards, commanded by “David Byrant”, an alias used by a 50-year-old former officer of the South African and Rhodesian armies.

    Last week, Mr Byrant launched a mission to arrest Congolese poachers in the southern CAR, having previously attacked a Sudanese gang, killing one and arresting three.

    According to Karl Amman, an independent conservationist who coordinated the recent operation, in five years the Congolese gang of former soldiers had killed up to 400 elephants along the CAR’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are now virtually no elephants within a 100-mile swath of the rainforest there, he said.


    1. Paul: Say hi to Chris and tell him I miss him, and his sharp political analyses. But I’m happy that he is not completely incommunicado.
      Violence, of course is the only thing that stops violence, when the latter is violent enough. By forgetting this, too long, the holocausts of WWII were made possible.

      Rewilding, fortunately is the opposite approach, soft and cuddly. It actually asks to stop wasting the Earth with fertilizers and forced irrigation, as such places where those methods are necessary would be the first to be rewilded.


      1. Hallo Patrice! What a pleasant piece of positive feedback, and a Happy New Year to you …… I am flattered by your “sharp politicfal analysis” compliment, but you are probably still bathing in the warm glow of Christmas goodwill! I do try to spot lunacy and lies, and there are a lot of both stalking the planet, not least in Europe, where the VP of the EU has just demanded that the coming elections for the European Parliament should in effect be a de facto referendum on setting up a European superstate. This one will run and run!!

        As for the elephants, Paul always tries to be positive, which is a nice antidote to my pessimism, but I was thinking about what can be done and came up with a list:

        – donate some dosh of course, but there are so many good causes and we are not all Bill Gates
        – spread the word among all one’s friends, trying not to be too much of a pain
        – write to your MP
        – write to the Chinese and other ambassadors
        – publicize the disaster on Facebook
        – buy a rifle and go and shoot some poachers

        I am trying all the first lot but haven’t yet found a supplier for the rifle ……


      2. @Chris

        “donate some dosh of course, but there are so many good causes and we are not all Bill Gates”

        While I don’t disagree, I strongly feel that there are too many worthy causes.

        a) Those of us with the inclination to cough up a few meagre pennies from our own non-Bill-Gatesian-sized funds is no better than the proverbial drop in the ocean.

        b) Those worthy causes shouldn’t have to rely upon us being emotionally blackmailed into coughing up those few pennies.

        Those all too few of us with receptive bleeding hearts should not have to foot the lion’s share of the bill.

        There is a simple solution: higher taxes to fund all these worthy causes. (Though that, of course, is anathema to the free market fundamentalists.)


  3. Thanks Chris, and happy new year to you too! A problem we have with superstates, is that we have a few around already: China, Russia, USA, and more… By not having our own, we make those ever worse. In Europe, we tend to have substates… Yet, without substance… Once Marine Le Pen and her British equivalent will have declared independence from each other, then what? Can they go into an area and fight each other with bare hands?

    It will be funny to see all the anti-unionist parties unite in the European Parliament, should they win…

    For elephants, as I said, rewilding ought to be our main line of defense. Wolves ought to be reintroduced in Scotland, and certainly megafauna in, say, France, could be done (and is already done on a small scale).


  4. I intensely dislike superstates. When did Leichtenstein, Andorra, Monaco or indeed Singapore last start a war?

    Little democracies can have mutual defence pacts, even use the same sized bullets so that if necessary they can more efficiently fight off nasty bullies, but centralised political control of hundreds of millions of people is a human disaster.


    1. Chris: I just noticed this now. Superstates do not have to start wars. When Rome and China were superstates, they did not initiate wars. Instead they were attacked by tiny states (Huns, Mongols), or bands (Goths, Vandals, Alans, etc.). Britannia fell to Angles and Saxon bands, etc.

      2 of the tiny states you quote are French artifacts. Singapore is a recent, semi-dictatorial creation born out of war.

      There is obviously no centralized political control in Europe, it would be a violation of the European (de facto) Constitution. The central engine of the Union is Franco-German unification. That does not mean the Germans will be forced to speak French, or vice versa, but that everybody will speak English (at least).

      What’s not to like?

      If one does not want a European democratic superstate, one will get ever more of the present plutocratic superstate of madness.

      You should visit my site more often, and criticize… I am detailing those mechanisms.

      All Europeans who are against Europe are, de facto, for USA plutocratization. That’s a betrayal of Europe, America, and the planet.


    1. Just wanted to use this reply to say “ignore me about the ‘no like button’ comment above: I’ve just been through the throes of building a new computer* and I’m starting to realise that this latest round of ‘upgrading’ has handed me with the usual batch of woes, some of which relate to the browser interface. In short: just coz I can’t see no steenkeeng ‘like’ button doesn’t mean there ain’t one; and once again I’m reminded that this internet widget isn’t WYSIWYG, it’s WYSINWOG.

      * due to the fact that micro$sloth is withdrawing support for WinXP in a few short weeks, and I firmly believe that one shouldn’t have a computer connected to the innerwebz unless it’s running an operating system that is having its holes patched — unless, of course, you’re that peculiar type of masochist who enjoys being unable to use your machine because it’s riddled with viruses, trojans and assorted malware.


      1. I’m not going to make you feel any better! In that after more years of being a Windows user than I care to think about, a few months back I purchased my first Apple – an Apple Mac Mini. Like it very much!


      2. I always swore to myself that I would go down the Linux route when it became necessary to migrate from WinXP. Unfortunately, life is too short; given that my workplace will migrate to the de facto standard, since I have to relearn stuff it makes sense to relearn the stuff I’ll need to use at my place of work. (So much for ‘user choice’ in the free *cough* market *cough*.)

        I’ve always heard good things about Apple. I did use one once a long time ago, and enjoyed the experience; but I prefer being able to take the back off my machine and fool around with the stuff inside (which is also why I’ve never been tempted by any games consoles). I haven’t had reason to play with an Apple Mac for a long while; are they still black boxes the fiddling with which is verboten?


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