The African Elephant

An African Elephant
An African Elephant

I wish I wrote well enough to describe the majesty of the African Elephant. I wish I had enough persuasion in my pen to make those who seek to destroy this magnificent animal for the sake of ivory chopsticks, a symbol of recently acquired wealth (but a devastating lack of wisdom), sit back of realise the destructive stupidity of their demands.

There is a war going on in Africa. A war bought on by the rise of China and the efficiency of criminal enterprise to fulfil any demand. Elephants are being slaughtered for their tusks, rhinos are being driven to the edge of extinction for their horns (ground up and made into medicine so men who lack a conscience can feed their sense of sexual inadequacy) and now lions are being hunted for their bones. More magic muti for the ignorant and callous. Would it help if I told them the bone marrow of lions quite often house tuberculosis? That if they grind up the bones and put it in their tea, with a bit of karma, maybe they’ll get sick.

We came across three elephants yesterday, standing like dark giant rocks in the grey sea of winter trees. Close enough to see their eyelashes, thick and long, protecting brown pools of intelligence – eyes that stare at you soulfully. As tall as the Landrover and nearly as wide, they move with a silence that seems unbelievable. Turning off the engine, the only thing you can hear are the swish of their trunks as they pull the grass out of the ground and shake it about to dislodge the earth before eating it. My heart is always pounding to see elephant that close up. But what a treat it is. They are the real king of the bush, regal and serene, but when disturbed or upset, they can react with deadly intent. Not fast enough to escape a bullet though. Not fast enough to protect themselves from man’s never-ending self-obsessed talent for destroying beauty and life and wonder for the sake of ego.

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