I read some absolutely shocking statistics about the rate at which elephants are being poached (33,000 elephants a year--which makes extinction by 2015 a distinct possibility).
I read that many tree species in Africa--which is a huge swath of the planet, and one of the most important areas for carbon-guzzling vegetation-- need to have their seeds digested (and excreted) by elephants before they can grow.
Besides the fact that elephants are an important, majestic species, and vital to our Earth's ecosystems, I wonder how we can stand idly by and just let these creatures get killed off for their tusks?
http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/articles/502652 (Click on link to read the article yourself.)
Before I read about why we have to save the elephants, however, I was simply thinking about elephants as symbols of good fortune.
I felt compelled to buy this toy for myself (well, I originally intended it for a random birthday child, but then I loved it so much, I couldn't part with it) because it was about 70% off at Target, and because a portion of its proceeds are supposed to go to Africa. (The toy, which you can buy for yourself, is a Fur Real Friends Zambi the Baby Elephant--see photo above.)
Anyway--I was working on some personal art, and while looking around for snippets of inspiration, I kept finding amazing photographs of elephants. I realized that I had to post something about these animals.
I fear that it's not enough, nor is it good enough, but if it gets elephants on other people's minds, too, then that's the point.
As most of us probably are, I am especially drawn to baby elephants. Let's be honest: is there a more heart-rending sight than that of an elephant matriarch with a calf?
Elephants remind us of ourselves, despite their incredibly inhuman features.
We can see, or at least sense, the emotion in elephants.
All animals surely experience emotions; I believe they are all capable of far more thought (and more complex feelings and reasoning) than we can ever truly understand. Don't try to argue with me that animals are soul-less and do not feel. I have no doubt that is wrong. Even insects must feel.
To see this elephant below, we see that smiles are not just for people. Happiness is apparent and easily readable despite the boundaries of our physical bodies, the limitations of our individual languages.
What animals inspire you? What animals can you help? Consider those things, and then, please, act on them.
If we cannot save the elephants, then I fear we cannot save ourselves.
To read more on the problems facing elephants, see the link below.
Also, read Elephant Journal (an interesting blog based in Boulder, CO) for essays on yoga, Buddhism, eco-consciousness, and more. http://www.elephantjournal.com/