Happy new year Africa-philes, elephant lovers and friends!
As I was slowly emerging from the land of baby night feeds this week (Sol is almost 2 months old now and as cute as can be) I noticed the story on the American woman and one year old killed by an elephant in Kenya. A terrible tragedy in every respect. I don’t know the full story, but it did make me wonder, if this could make headlines, what about the hundreds, perhaps thousands of people who are killed by elephants every year throughout Asia and Africa? Where are the news stories about them? Mothers, fathers, kids, most of them poor and without alternative livelihoods to the crops that elephants raid. And what about the hundreds of elephants who are also killed as a result of human-elephant conflict every year? What are their stories? Have we become immune to the annual war between elephants and people, or do people simply not know about it?
The difference between the woman and her child on safari and the people who live with elephants every day is that they were paying tourists. As a tourist you choose to go into the elephant’s territory. Whether a one year old should have been there at all is another question and makes me wonder about the tour operator. But my point is that most of the people who live with elephants don’t have a choice. They live with that danger every single day in the daily battle for survival. And as more and more humans encroach on elephant habitat, the mortalities on both sides will only go up.
If you’d like to do more to support conservation programs for elephants that help people too, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope 2010’s fabulous for you in every possible way!