I’m reblogging an earlier blog post in honor of World Elephant Day. The post includes my husband’s video of about two dozen elephants moving quickly and silently through the forests in MalaMala Game Reserve in South Africa on their way into Kruger National Park in January 2013.
On a misty morning in January 2013, our group climbed into a Land Rover for a game drive through MalaMala Game Reserve in South Africa. January is one of the rainiest months in this area of South Africa. That morning, we were lucky that it was only sporadically sprinkling. Birds were calling, but it was otherwise very quiet except for the rumble of the Land Rover’s engine. We never knew what we’d see. There was a surprise around every bend in the road. That morning we’d already seen a pride of lions lounging by a creek bed after a night of feasting (We’d seen some of the feasting, too). (
Read the rest of the post by clicking on the link below “Elephants in the Mist”.
ElephantVoices campaign: EVERY TUSK COSTS A LIFE
This is from a press release from ElephantVoices, which is launching a campaign against the ivory trade. The trade of ivory is causing the slaughter of tens of thousands of elephants every year. Elephant expert and Co-Founder of ElephantVoices, Dr. Joyce Poole, observes, “It is with a sense of déjà vu and deep sorrow, though little surprise, that following the torpedoing of the 1989 ban by the ‘one-off’ sales of ivory stockpiles, we find ourselves living through, and battling against, another elephant massacre.”
Each new tusk on the market means more death, trauma and destruction.
“We are asking people to help us reach out to potential buyers of ivory who don’t realize that elephants are dying in record-high numbers for trinkets and decorations. The only way to stop this wanton slaughter of elephants is to choke demand for ivory and stop the trade,” states Joyce Poole.
ElephantVoices is basing its campaign on two powerful pieces of graphic art by New York artist, Asher Jay. The artworks, with the slogans, EVERY TUSK COSTS A LIFE; DON’T BUY IVORY and EVERY TUSK COSTS A LIFE; STOP THE TRADE, target potential buyers and decision-makers, and are also specifically directed toward a Chinese audience. “ElephantVoices is doing something unique by making the graphic art available online in several versions, so they can be shared on social networks and be used for T-shirts, bumper-stickers, posters and banners”, says Executive Director, Petter Granli.
“We urge people to share these messages far and wide, making them go viral. The poaching is endangering elephants, jeopardizing biodiversity, and threatening tourism, people’s livelihoods and stability in elephant range states. The writing is on the wall for elephants and we must act now”, says Joyce Poole. The two pieces of art shown are avialble to download in several forms.
There are too many people buying ivory in too many countries. The current demand for elephant tusks is unsustainable and is swiftly mining Africa’s elephants. The largest demand is in China and, hence, the Chinese government and her people have a special responsibility for taking a lead to end the decimation of elephants. China was permitted to buy a restricted amount of ivory from stockpiles, a decision by the international community that has caused immense harm to elephants. Ninety percent of the ivory available in China is from slaughtered elephants, illegally sourced, traded and sold. Chinese buyers deserve to know that tens of thousands of elephants are being killed to supply them with ivory. Every tusk costs a life.
China has the ability to raise public awareness and to enforce their strict laws to quickly strangle the trading, buying and poaching. China can stop her countrymen causing the destruction of Africa’s heritage and biodiversity, while concurrently protecting her enormous investments on the African continent. We urge China to take action now to end any trade in ivory – we cannot afford to lose Africa’s keystone species. 中国 Zhōngguó means China. Star power is needed to save Africa’s elephants from extermination.
CLICK ON THE THUMBNAILS TO SEE FULL-SIZE PICTURES AND IVORY SEIZURE MAP
In the video above, about two dozen elephants move quickly and silently through the forests in MalaMala Game Reserve in South Africa on their way into Kruger National Park in January 2013 (Video by Mike L).
On a misty morning in January 2013, our group climbed into a Land Rover for a game drive through MalaMala Game Reserve in South Africa. January is one of the rainiest months in this area of South Africa. That morning, we were lucky that it was only sporadically sprinkling. Birds were calling, but it was otherwise very quiet except for the rumble of the Land Rover’s engine. We never knew what we’d see. There was a surprise around every bend in the road. That morning we’d already seen a pride of lions lounging by a creek bed after a night of feasting (We’d seen some of the feasting, too).
We rumbled along, feeling raindrops, scanning through the trees and in the clearings. Then we saw an elephant. Soon more appeared. About two dozen elephants of all sizes were moving very quickly in a line in the morning’s mist. The herd made no sound. A few elephants grabbed small leafy limbs to eat as they passed through the forest. It was an awe-inspiring sight. We watched them for about ten minutes until they disappeared into Kruger National Park.
Moses, our guide, explained that the elephants could walk so silently because their circular feet are spongy with cushion pads, which also distribute the elephant’s weight.
When I was a child racing around with other children, I used to hear adults say, “You sound like a herd of elephants.” Of course, the adults meant that we were thunderingly loud, because that’s what they expected such huge animals would sound like.
Moses also explained how the size of the tusks vary a lot. However, no elephant, whether she or he has short or long tusks, is safe from the poachers, who even trespass into protected areas.
I knew elephants were endangered, but I had no idea how much slaughter was happening until I got home and start seeing so many stories about massive poaching, partly due to a loophole permitting artisans, mostly in Asia, to carve ivory for trinkets. Many are religious objects. These so-called religious objects are definitely unholy. DO NOT BUY IVORY, EVEN IF YOU ARE TOLD THAT IT’S LEGAL. THOSE WHO BUY IVORY ARE CONTRIBUTING TO THE DEATH AND POSSIBLE EXTINCTION OF ELEPHANTS.
We saw this herd of elephants as it traveled out of MalaMala Game Reserve into neighboring Kruger National Park, South Africa, in January 2013.
On a misty morning in January 2013, a herd of elephants in MalaMala Game Reserve moves quickly as it heads into Kruger National Park in South Africa. Elephants are highly endangered and are being slaughtered for their tusks.
Today as I was editing (clumsily) some videos my husband took of a herd of elephants we saw in South Africa, I marveled all over again how magnificent elephants are. I was spellbound watching them as they moved silently through the forest.
So tonight when I saw a topic trending on Twitter: #FreeLucyElephant I had to click on it.
Below is a link to a slideshow of photographs of an elephant that has been living almost entirely alone for all of her 35 years in cold Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, with little room to roam. The fight to get Lucy moved to a sanctuary has been going on for a long while.
From Zoocheck: Lucy is a 35-year old female Asian elephant living alone at the Valley Zoo in Edmonton, Canada.
All female elephants have basic physical, psychological and social requirements. They require very large spaces, complex natural terrain, pasture, lots of things to do, other elephants to socialize with and a moderate climate.
Lucy’s life at the Valley Zoo is deficient in many respects. She is socially isolated, lives in a tiny barren enclosure, endures a number of ongoing health issues that the zoo has not been able to resolve and is forced to live through Edmonton’s cold winters.
The Valley Zoo claims Lucy cannot be moved, that she is not a social elephant, is accustomed to Edmonton’s weather and is quite happy where she is. Many of their claims are nonsensical and some ignore established scientific fact. As well, Lucy’s continued social isolation is contrary to accepted management practices for elephants in captivity around the world.
While the Valley Zoo and the City of Edmonton try to paint a rosy, almost idyllic, picture of Lucy’s life, the reality is quite different. A highly social, extremely intelligent, wide-ranging animal that was born in the tropical forests of Sri Lanka should not live alone in a tiny, barren zoo exhibit in a northern city.
Is this elephant dreaming of the delicious marula fruit as she eats grass at a game reserve in South Africa?
I love fruit, but I’d never heard of marula fruit until a friend (Thanks, Anita!) introduced me to Amarula, a creamy liqueur made in Africa from fermented marula fruit.
Fermented marula fruit makes a delicious drink when mixed with cream for humans in a liqueur called Amarula. Elephants will eat the fermented fruit, but it’s a myth that they’ll get drunk. They couldn’t eat enough to get inebriated. The Amarula Trust promotes Africa elephant protection and social development in Africa. This elephant sculpture is on display at the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Elephants like to eat marula fruit and are Amarula’s symbol. Folklore through the ages told of elephants getting drunk on fermented marula fruit, but that tall tale has been debunked. I don’t want to be a party pooper, but elephants couldn’t eat enough fermented fruit to get bombed. According to a 2006 scientific study cited in Smithsonian Magazine, “Elephants do have a taste for alcohol, but when scientists sat down to look at the claim, they found several problems. First, the elephants don’t eat the rotten fruit off the ground. They eat the fresh fruit right off the tree. Second, the fresh fruit doesn’t spend enough time in the elephant to ferment and produce alcohol there. And, third, even if the elephant did eat the rotten fruit, the animal would have to eat 1,400 pieces of exceptionally fermented fruit to get drunk.” Smithsonian Magazine: The Alcoholics of the Animal World.
Elephants like to eat marula fruit, but much of what elephants eat is not fully digested. Here, some marula nuts have passed through an elephant. The surviving marula fruits might be eaten by other animals or germinate into new trees.
While the elephants don’t get soused from fermented fruits, elephants are among the many species that enjoy the versatile marula fruit for its flesh and its nut, which is full of protein. The marula fruit and its nut have been important source of nutrition in Africa for eons. The fruit has eight times the Vitamin C of an orange, too. Among the animals that eat the marula fruit and nut are antelopes, including impalas, kudus and nyalas. Baboons, warthogs, zebras, porcupines, vervet monkeys, small mammals and even millipedes also feed on the marula, which belongs to the same plant family Anacardiaceae as the mango, cashew, pistachio and sumac. Browsing animals eat the leaves. Marula nut oil is also supposed to have rejuvenating effect on your skin, so the marula can give you a glow both inside and out. About the Marula Tree and Fruit.About Marula Oil for Your Skin.
While reading this post I recommend an Amarula cocktail, which has a mild creamy citrus flavor. If you can’t find Amarula, you can sip Bailey’s Irish Cream or Kahlua. Drink responsibly, of course!
Here’s My Recipe for a Wild Elephant, which is really a White Russia, replacing the Kahlua with Amarula:
2 oz vodka
1 oz Amarula liqueur
Pour vodka and Amarula liqueur over ice cubes in an old-fashioned glass. Fill with light cream and serve.
For other recipes. click on Cocktail Recipes.
In a game reserve in South Africa, baboons congregate in and under a marula tree to eat the marula fruit. Impala antelope stand under the tree to eat the dropped fruit. Click on the photo to get a better view.
The long-time belief that elephants and other animals get drunk on fermented marula fruit was popularized in the 1974 documentary “Animals are Beautiful People.” Some smaller animals can get drunk from fermented fruit, but people have claimed that the supposedly drunkenness of the animals from fermented marula was staged in the movie, after alcohol had been added to their food. If so, that’s animal abuse. The narration is over the top, too, but the video does show the types of animals that eat the marula fruit. It also shows elephants shaking marula trees to knock down the fruit. Scientific American: Do Animals Like to Get Drunk? Drunken Elephants: The Marula Fruit Myth About “Animals are Beautiful People.”
The marula fruit on this tree will turn yellow when ripe.
Owls don’t eat marula fruits, of course, but the branches make a handy perch. Perhaps some unsuspecting creature looking for fruit may become the owl’s dinner.
Marula fruit is washed along with sand over a walkway after a rainy night at the game reserve lodge where we stayed in January 2013.