I dreamed of elephants
A highlight in my life was the time that I went on safari in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, Africa. Our jeep stopped for a long time to observe a lone elephant, walking slowly yet mightily, using her trunk to throw large blades of grass on her back to cool her from the rising sun. Elephants travel long distances, often outside conservation areas where they are endangered for their ivory. Westerners are responsible for the cruel way in which they are treated, as our desire for trinkets increases the demand for elephant tusks in countries that breed significant corruption.
Entire families are wiped out in a variety of horrific ways. Some are murdered by poisoned arrows which leads to an agonizing and slow death. Others are shot, some are hacked to death with machetes. And for what? To make pianos?
Elephants are extremely sophisticated animals that demonstrate complex communication patterns, including the use of telepathy. Little ones are dependent on their mother’s milk for up to three years, and are raised by the entire family of female cows who protect and nurture each other. When all the females are killed for their ivory, the babies are left to starve to death, or are brutally killed by lions sensing a defenceless prey.
The African elephant population has been decimated, despite the conservation efforts of people like Daphne Sheldrick, who has reared orphaned elephants for over 50 years in Kenya. Daphne runs the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, named after her deceased husband, and offers a safe haven for baby elephants and rhinos. She lives a simple eco-friendly life that has reinforced in me the desire to give back to the world, rather than focusing on constantly receiving.
I spent the last couple of days reading her memoir, which was beyond poignant and touching. Her love for these persecuted creatures is awe-inspiring. I went on YouTube and found this 1977 documentary about her life that I thought you might be interested in watching. Many of the animals that lived with her during this period she writes about in her book, and one elephant named Eleanor (who raised many orphaned animals) is still alive. I hope that you take the time to learn more about her, and that you purchase her book and read about her wonderful life.