Protecting Elephants Is A Globally Shared Responsibility

Now there is no real need to go on here about just what an African elephant is, the African elephant is one of the most easily identifiable creatures on planet Earth; literally everyone with the gift of sight knows what one is. Oh I suppose some persons may not realize there are elephants that are NOT African elephants, but that is another story entirely.

I’m going to take a bit of a guess here, and please forgive me should I be wrong, but I’m thinking most persons do NOT realize there are not just one, but TWO species of African elephants; the African bush elephant, and the slightly smaller African forest elephant. Both of these species of elephant are facing slaughters in the tens of thousands right now, as their ivory can be converted to cash at unprecedented rates.

Were the entire nation of the USA polled, then the percentage of persons who would like to see the African elephants extinct would be so extraordinarily small as to be a statistical irrelevancy, yet the African elephants are in real danger just the same.

What does the USA have to do with the survival of African elephants?

Well, I just used the imaginary USA poll as a bit of example. I don’t think much of anyone wants to see African elephants get remotely close to extinction, but yet it is heading that way for them just the same. If you happen to buy into the notion that the USA is the most powerful nation on Earth still, then the USA should definitely lead the way towards making absolutely certain the elephants of Africa in no way become more threatened than they already are.

It’s a global responsibility we have, we only have one planet.

Who Is Killing The Elephants?

Quite literally, we are. The enemy of the planet is us, and humanity alone has that little extra something that prevents it from spreading out and finding maintainable levels within its respective ecosystems. Oh don’t get me wrong, there have been human communities that lived in harmony with the natural world, but we always label those people as “savages,” and then we take everything they have…their land, which they were wise enough to know was never really theirs to begin with, and in some cases we just have a good old fashioned genocide against them in the name of corporations and consumerism stupidity.

The motivating factor for killing elephants is economic at its core, but one could in most cases just skip the nonsense and call greed what it is – a seeking to glorify the self to vile extremes at the expense of other humans or creatures, or both.

I’d hate for anyone reading here to think I thought them stupid – but at some point or another one must state what the major motivating factor for killing an African elephant is, and as greed has already been mentioned, something tangible has to be at its roots, and of course that thing is elephant ivory.

It is very very easy to say and believe that one must literally be IN Africa to be that horrible person killing elephants for their ivory, but this is only true in the practical sense. Yes, it isn’t possible for me to sit here in Texas and kill elephants, and run a black market ivory business – but if I am the person who buys things made from ivory, I AM the person killing the elephants just the same.

Poaching – Killing Elephants For Ivory In Africa

Ivory is beautiful, and has many uses. The global demand for ivory surpasses the respect for the lives of elephants. It is really just that simple. Let me explain some other very simple truths to you here.

  1. You do not have to shoot an elephant to get its ivory…elephants die of natural causes.
  2. Ivory taken from an elephant that died of natural causes is legitimate ivory, and the same quality as that someone with a very low level system of ethics and morals, motivated by illicit global demand, murdered a large, majestic, and beautiful elephant to get.
  3. Humanity as a whole has an instant gratification problem – we as a species want what we want when we want it, and we want it right now. When we act out on instant gratification, we have failed to reflect on consequences. There is no one who will become more disenfranchised by the declining elephant populations than the persons who are killing them for the illicit ivory trade.
  4. If point “three” above can be thought true, then it is clear those who deal in elephant poaching and illicit ivory sales are persons without the mental acuity to recognize the system they perpetuate is unsustainable, OR, and more likely, they are the lowest common denominators of humanity. The same sorts who’d accept a peace prize and perpetuate predator drones and bombs all over the world.
  5. Poaching isn’t just about elephants, and it isn’t just elephants being murdered by poachers and illegal international black markets,Rhinoceroses are being slaughtered for their horns, and thousands of people are murdered for trying to protect elephants and rhinoceroses from poachers.

The Ivory Trade, Heroes And Villains

Now the BBC video up above and to the right discusses elephant poachers using snares to catch elephants with. One can assume the poachers are far away, but check their snares for elephants often enough to see if they have one they can kill to cut off the ivory for illicit ivory sales. I’m afraid the snares video failed to relay the information about the real threat to elephants from poachers, as the real threat is far more organized, far more financed, and far more deadly than a simple snare left in the wild.

As a National Geographic article explains, poachers in the nation of Chad charged into CAMEROON’S BOUBA NDJIDAH NATIONAL PARK, on horses with AK-47s and rocket propelled grenades, they slaughtered entire families of elephants, including an entire herd of fifty. Then, some of them prayed to Allah. Apparently the park had video surveillance.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Garamba National Park, a Ugandan military helicopter was spotted in use of elephant poachers. Do you know who paid for these poacher’s helicopter and weapons? Well, the United States taxpayer paid for those things.

What about “The Lord’s Resistance Army?” Are they involved in poaching elephants and illegal ivory sales?

Well of course they are! We’ve all heard of this Joseph Kony fellow by now, and his group of highly armed and dangerous thugs, stolen children, and whoever else is involved are absolutely involved in elephant poaching and illegal ivory sales.

Isn’t the Ugandan military fighting the Kony thugs, i.e., “the lord’s resistance army?”

Yes indeed, the US military funds the Ugandan military, and the Ugandan military is basically at war with the Joseph Kony “lord’s resistance army.” As is typical, the Ugandan military (funded by US taxpayers) is BY FAR the larger terrorist organization, and it is involved in vastly worse human rights abuses than the Kony people, but both of them are into elephant poaching and illegal ivory sales.

Now, these parks in Africa have armed park rangers guarding against poachers, but they don’t have modern US military weaponry, and more times than not, they are killed when they engage poachers, as the poachers have the park rangers out gunned and out numbered. Of course the federal government of the USA is ran by a bunch of idiots, and of course idiotic taxpayers allow for African poachers to slaughter not just elephants and rhinos, but African park rangers too by not bothering to care what is done with their tax dollars; but the real culprits of these killings of both man and beast are the Chinese. “White Gold”, the Chinese call ivory, but it is indeed drenched in blood. By and large, the Chinese are showing little concern for Western elephant advocacy, they’re more concerned with disarming American Citizens, and how to fluff their egos with their newfangled wealth and ivory, which has been a symbol of status in China for longer years than anyone can likely count.

Of course China’s huge and newly wealthy middle class isn’t entirely to blame here, some folks say Thailand has an even larger black market for elephant ivory than china.

So What Can I Do To Stop Elephant Poaching And To Save African Elephants?

Here in the United States, we do not have a legal ivory trade at all, and I must give respect here to George Herbert Walker Bush, who while president of the United States, he signed into law the African Elephant Conservation Act which completely banned the import of African elephant ivory into the USA. Let’s not kid ourselves though, where there is a market, there will be buyers, and surely there is inside the states a black market for ivory.

It’s obvious that you need to stop purchasing ivory for any reason – if no one is buying ivory, no one will kill elephants for their ivory. Recently the nation of Gabon sent a very clear signal to the Asian black marketers and the elephant poachers alike, they burned tons of confiscated elephant ivory, it was estimated that eight hundred and fifty elephants were killed for what they sent up in smoke. My initial reaction to hearing of what was done in Gabon was, “what a waste!” Now that I understand more of what is going on with elephant poaching, I think differently. A clear and absolute stand has to be made in regards to poaching and ivory, and that is what the nation of Gabon’s action showed – zero tolerance for elephant poaching.

While poaching is the largest threat to Africa’s elephants, it isn’t the only threat. Elephants are losing habitat in Africa due to deforestation, and also to conflicts with farmers or ranchers. Elephants simply do not mix with human agriculture at all, an elephant recognizes no boundaries, and will absolutely trample crops. Regardless of the plight of one of the Earth’s most intelligent and unique creatures, the elephants of Africa, plantations are being created to raise crops such as coffee, and also, timbers are sold from felled trees across the globe – and on land that was elephant habitat. If possible, when you purchase timber, be certain it is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, as that timber will not have come from elephant habitat. When you purchase coffee, please seek out Fair Trade Coffee, as that cup o’ Joe is elephant friendly.

Thanks for reading!