Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blood Ivory - Can the Slaughter of Elephants for their tusks be stopped?

IN JANUARY 2012 A HUNDRED RAIDERS ON HORSEBACK CHARGED OUT OF CHAD INTO CAMEROON’S BOUBA NDJIDAH NATIONAL PARK, SLAUGHTERING HUNDREDS OF ELEPHANTS—entire families—in one of the worst concentrated killings since a global ivory trade ban was adopted in 1989. Carrying AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades, they dispatched the elephants with a military precision reminiscent of a 2006 butchering outside Chad’s Zakouma National Park. And then some stopped to pray to Allah. Seen from the ground, each of the bloated elephant carcasses is a monument to human greed. Elephant poaching levels are currently at their worst in a decade, and seizures of illegal ivory are at their highest level in years. From the air too the scattered bodies present a senseless crime scene—you can see which animals fled, which mothers tried to protect their young, how one terrified herd of 50 went down together, the latest of the tens of thousands of elephants killed across Africa each year. Seen from higher still, from the vantage of history, this killing field is not new at all. It is timeless, and it is now.
Read the rest of Bryan Christy's insightful and sobering article in National Geographic...

Thanks to blog reader, Bruce, for the heads-up on this piece.  Want to add a personal note too; as terrific as National Geographic is - and has been for decades - the National Geographic Channel seems to have taken on some unfortunate, evil alter-ego.   It regularly airs TV programming that makes at best dubious use of animals, including bonobos, for entertainment.  NGC recently became the target of a global Facebook protest when it became known that one of planned stars for an upcoming reality show was a well-known trophy hunter.  If you have FB, you can check out that page here:

NGC uninvited Ms. Bachman when it realized the public relations nightmare it had created, but I'm not aware of whether it changed any of its other programming.

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