The Matriarchs

 
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The epitome of a strong female… that is an Elephant. Mothers, daughters and granddaughters, this is what makes up an elephant herd. Teaching and guiding each other over generations.  With a gestation period of 24 months, the bonds between mothers and calves are established long before birth. They are the epitome of a family, they are the definition of wisdom. There is no doubt that elephants are one of the greatest beings to walk the earth.

Yet like so many great beings before them, they have been persecuted to the brink of extinction by human greed. When one sees an elephant in the wild, one can only wonder, how?... HOW could anyone kill an elephant, for any reason at all. However, to this day, elephants are being slaughtered mercilessly, for their ivory and as trophies (again man’s desire to prove his power over all creatures knows no limits and has no conscience). The numbers at which elephants are being killed is shocking, 144,000 elephants were lost to ivory poaching and habitat destruction in the last decade. The current yearly loss— overwhelmingly from poaching is about 27,000 elephants slaughtered year after year. All this just for their ivory. We humans are certainly a vile species.

So much needs to be done to save this incredible creature from becoming extinct. Extinction… a sobering word, because extinction is FOREVER, and we can’t afford to lose these creatures forever. Let me just say that I for one DO NOT consider zoos an option. Zoos are an asylum for an animal as wise and intelligent as an elephant. For the elephants that are mercilessly killed, their suffering may be over, but elephants in zoos, their suffering goes on for many years while we keep them alive just so we can walk up and gawk at them. Therefore, zoos are definitely not the answer, the answer lies in saving our remaining wild elephants, the ones that live their lives in freedom… the ones that still know what it is like to be an elephant.

As the human population continues to grow at an alarming and unsustainable rate, we continue to encroach more and more on the few wildlife areas left. These are areas which animals like elephants desparatly depend on. This puts both elephants and humans in danger and does nothing to abate the human wildlife conflict.

As the human population continues to grow at an alarming and unsustainable rate, we continue to encroach more and more on the few wildlife areas left. These are areas which animals like elephants desparatly depend on. This puts both elephants and humans in danger and does nothing to abate the human wildlife conflict.

We need to support initiatives that fight to save these great beings. The initiatives that work tirelessly to keep them free, the ones that fight the ivory trade and are on the ground educating villagers about the importance of elephants. Educating them how to live alongside these great beasts, because only this will lessen the human elephant conflict and save lives on both ends.

Whenever I look into the eyes of an elephant, I am always overcome by sadness, and that may be because I see sadness in their eyes…is it possible, could these, the wisest of beings know what we have done to their kin… do these mystical giants know that there is no quenching human greed?

The latter of those statements may very well prove to be true. We continually see elephants altering  their behavior and approach to humans, not to mention their own physical attributes. It is no secret that many elephants across the great continent of Africa have started to develop extremely small tusks, while many bear no tusks at all. The once fabled Tuskers are now no more…

I want to believe that that us humans as a species, can evolve past our vile destructive current being. Until then however, the few of us who do care for these great beings, those who know that that there are many qualities that we share with these giants of the wild, those us who recognize that the definition of humanity hinges on whether we can stop the slaughter of these sentient creatures.

I meet many people who say they love elephants, that they care if elephants survive. Let me assure you, love and caring will not be enough to save these magnificent beings. They need us to take action, to raise awareness about the dire problems facing them, they need us to support initiatives and causes that are working to save them.

When I see elephants in the future, I don’t want to feel sadness, I want to be engulfed in a feeling of awe, as it should be when being in the presence of this great being. I don’t want to feel ashamed, I want to feel pride knowing that we as humans saw the fault in our ways and came together to correct our mentality and save what’s left of these beautiful animals. I want to have hope… a hope that these wise, caring beings will find a way to forgive us for what we have done to them.

As I write this, I know there are many people working tirelessly to safe our planets elephants. Let’s stand with them, because it only takes a ray of light to illuminate the dark… So, with enough of us standing together I know there to will be enough light to ensure a bright future for these gentle giants that share our planet with us.

We HAVE TO ACT TODAY to ensure that years from now for these Giants that still walk among us.

 
Faizel Ismail