Tag Archives: China

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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Ivory stockpile to be publicly destroyed as Obama seeks to end illegal trade | The Guardian

12 Nov afritorial.com

Ivory stockpile to be publicly destroyed as Obama seeks to end illegal trade | Environment | The Guardian.

This above link is a very informative article by The Guardian about the Ivory problem in this world. Yes, the world. And it is everyone’s problem. On Thursday this week, the United States will take a step forward by burning it’s stockpile with cameras rolling, in hopes that the rest of the world is watching. Hello, China? Everyone is looking at you.

I shutter at the thought that elephants will become extinct in my lifetime, and I am saddened by the thought that future generations will be robbed of their presence. Their extinction will be 100% the fault of mankind, due to poaching and loss of habitat.  Picture a large bull elephant, he’s approximately 45 years old, and standing 15ft high with tusks so long they almost touch the ground. Now picture him laying on the ground with his face carved away. This is what has been repeatedly found by rangers and such, from large bulls to smaller and younger elephants, dead. Tusks gone. Killed for one reason, and one reason only. Ivory.

Despite their size compared to man, they are defenseless. They are killed with guns, arrows and even cyanide poisoning. There are not enough Rangers, not enough resources, and not enough humans to stop the crisis. Not enough punishment for those found guilty. Elephants mourn their dead, and the poachers know it. They can kill one, then come back and kill an entire family that is simply there to do what we as human beings do when we are faced with the death of a family member.

Greed drives a lot of things. It’s so powerful it can drive the extinction of our planet earth’s largest mammal, and one of the smartest. Since the ivory ban, it’s only become more in demand. Don’t fuel that demand. Remember this – ivory only comes from one place: elephants.  Are your trinkets worth it?

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