Tag Archives: african elephant

Mourning the loss of two great Tuskers in Africa, killed by poachers.

22 Jun

Two iconic and well known jumbo elephants in Africa have been killed by poachers for their ivory tusks. These majestic elephants known as Mountain Bull and Satao, were known as Tuskers with Satao thought to be the largest elephant in Africa. Both were studied by conservationists, both were under 46 yrs old and both were survivors of previous poaching attacks. Sadly, both also ended up being killed by poisonous spears, which took several weeks to slowly and painfully cause their demise. All for the illegal ivory trade – blood ivory.

Mountain Bull was killed in Mt. Kenya National Park in May, and he was very well known and studied. In 2012 his tusks were cut down, in order to make him less desirable for poachers. The study of his migration routes assisted conservationists in developing a safe route for wildlife to pass from Mt. Kenya to Lewa and Samburu, without conflicting with human development. His acceptance and use of the new trail led to over 2,000 other elephants following the path. For the past 8 years he had a GPS collar tracking him by Save The Elephants, which alarmed the organization when they noticed it had stopped moving. The search team from Lewa Wildlife Conservancy found his body, with his tusks removed. He had survived at least one previous poaching attack, which left 6 bullets in his body. The loss of Mountain Bull was a shock and has deeply affected all that knew him. He was also featured on the CBS Evening News and CBS Sunday Morning regarding the poaching crisis in Africa. Their video report on his death can be found HERE. Mountain Bull was only 46 years old.

Photo Credit Lewa Wildlife Conservacy

Mountain Bull – Photo Credit Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

Mountain Bull - Photo Credit Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

Mountain Bull – Photo Credit Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

 

With the despair and frustration of Mountain Bull’s death still on many minds, the news of the great tusker Satao’s death was like blow to the body that you never feel you’ll fully recover from. Satao was thought to be the largest elephant in Africa, with his tusks almost reaching he ground.  He was from the Tsavo East National Park. Due to the size of his tusks he was under almost constant watch by the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Tsavo Trust. But sadly, the good guys can’t be everywhere all the time and poachers were able to spear him. The Tsavo Trust located his carcass on June 2, 2014.  Several months prior to that he was found with spear wounds, which luckily were treated in time for the poison to kill him.

 

I first heard of Satao earlier this year through a blog post by Mark Deeble, a wildlife filmaker in Africa. His blog post here talks about his observance of Satao and how his habits had changed in recent months. As Satao came across elephant carcasses in his travels, he most certainly realized that since their tusks were missing, that his may be a target as well. He would move through the bush in zig zag patterns, waiting and watching, and not trying to hide his body but rather hiding his tusks. It is highly possible that he knew his fate, and he was right. Satao was only 45 years old.

Satao. Photo: Richard Moller -Tsavo Trust

Satao. Photo: Richard Moller -Tsavo Trust

 

Satao. Photo: Mark Deeble

Satao. Photo: Mark Deeble

 

It is thought that the remaining tuskers are all in Kenya. A petition was started demanding the Kenyan President declare presidential protection for the remaining few, which would provide round the clock protection for them. President Kenyatta has yet to comment.

The source of poaching is directly caused by the demand for ivory, mostly in China. The majority of the buyers don’t even realize the crisis of poaching, and most have no idea if the ivory they’re purchasing is white ivory or blood ivory (recently poached ivory). The better their economy improves, which is steadily improving, the greater the demand. In addition, the true and traditional artform culture of carving ivory, which goes back 2,000 years, has been deemed a national intangible heritage in China. For those and other reasons, it’s undeniably an uphill battle. The chain of people from the poacher to the buyer of an ivory trinket or carving is rather long, and everyone is making money. For the poachers themselves, it’s an opportunity to make sums of money that they never have a chance of otherwise. So much that they’re willing to risk their lives for it. Everyone else in between is involved in corruption, and are helping to fund terrorist organizations and human trafficking rings.

My heart is with Kenya, and the rest of the continent as they’re losing elephants on a daily basis. The demand for ivory will cause the extinction of the African elephant if something doesn’t change. No…..not something, everything.

 

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Elephant lovers call to action, can you spare a few clicks?

11 Mar

We’ve come a long way since the 1800’s, right? When I say we, I mean most of the world. A rather disturbing exception would be traveling circuses that still use performing elephants, and other endangered species. Not much research was done on elephant behavior back in the 1800’s, so the ignorance can be forgiven. It can’t be forgiven today, and it is beyond ignorance at this point. It’s more like deliberate denial of the facts for the sake of a dollar. Sadly, it’s the animals that are living with the consequences.

It’s common knowledge now that elephants are social animals, require miles to roam to stay healthy and display true emotions very similar to human beings. And lets not forget, that an elephant never forgets. The life of a circus elephant is in contrast to it’s natural purpose. They’re beaten, confined, separated, restricted from exercise, demeaned, humiliated, forced to perform a grueling schedule and forced to work when they’re ill. Studies have proven that the life of a circus elephant is about half of what it should be. The psychological damage that is done is permanent for the rest of the elephant’s life.

Bob Barker in Support of H.R. 3359. Courtesy ADI

It doesn’t have to be this way. Animal Defenders International introduced the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, H.R. 3359 to amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to restrict the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses and traveling exhibitions. The bill was introduced by Congressman James Moran (D-VA) and needs additional congressional support. It’s specifically targeted at ending the use of exotic wild animals in traveling circus acts. It will not affect zoos, rodeos or permanent animal shows.

Please, contact your member of congress today and urge him/her to support and co-sponsor HR 3359, the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act. It’s very simple and only takes a moment. Everything you need, talking points and sample letters, are right here on this action page.

And If the circus is coming to your town, don’t go!

Still need a reason to help out?
Take a look at this PETA investigation in the Ringling Bros circus abuse of elephants. In November 2011 Ringling was fined by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) $270,000 for violating the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the largest fine in history. Ringling has a history of fines with the USDA yet continually denies the allegations. Undercover investigations and whistle blowers have proved otherwise:

Mother Jones found in a year-long investigation that the USDA has conducted over a dozen investigations of Ringling Bros (Feld Entertainment), and yet regulators have not acted on their findings of abuse. A former head of the animal care unit in the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said that with a limited budget, the agency was unable to prosecute many cases.

Again, please take a moment to write your representative in Congress. Detail information on the bill:

http://www.breakthechainus.com

http://www.federalcircusbill.com

An African Love Story – by Dame Daphne Sheldrick

7 Mar
Daphne Sheldrick

An African Love Story

After supporting and following the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for the past 10 years, I was more than thrilled to hear of Dame Daphne Sheldrick’s plans to write an autobiography. Appropriately titled, “An African Love Story – Love, Life and Elephants”, Sheldrick eloquently brings readers along an amazing journey from childhood through today, with an incredible story only someone of her rare privilege could possibly tell.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust fosters baby elephants and rhinos in Tsavo National Park in Nairobi, Kenya. The babies fall victim to parental loss due largely to poaching, or some other human created death. They’re nursed to health at the orphanage and then eventually released back into the wild.

The book was released in the UK on March 1st, and is available in the USA by clicking here: http://www.thedswt.org.uk/LLE.html

Proceeds from the book purchased using the above link will go direct to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.


An excellent article about Daphne Sheldrick in The Telegraph:

The woman who fosters elephants in Kenya – Telegraph.

Worth the read…she is truly one of the world’s most remarkable women.

If you’re interested in fostering an elephant, contact the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for more information.

Connie and Shaba arrive at the San Diego Zoo

6 Mar

Connie, (an Asian elephant), and Shaba, (an African elephant) have been together for over 30 years at the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, AZ and have recently been moved to the Elephant Odyssey at the San Diego Zoo. The move didn’t come easy, however. Originally the zoo had plans to separate the two elephants, since Connie is an Asian elephant she was headed to San Diego and Shaba was to remain with the African herd in Tucson. But after weeks of public outcry not to separate the two, which included the support of Bob Barker, the city council agreed to keep the girls together. So they packed up their trunks and moved to San Diego!

Proof once again, that voices can be heard. If it wasn’t for ele lovers standing up for these two, they would have suffered a traumatic loss from their separation.  There are very few places on earth that you will find Asian and African elephants together, as they are actually different species. So the challenge was heavy, but San Diego currently does have the two together and fully expect Connie and Shaba to gravitate towards their own species. Hopefully, things will go smooth.

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