Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Elephants Are Tromping Through My Thoughts

I was just reading about the plight of elephants in the most recent (June 2010) issue of Conde Nast Traveler.

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 have my own good luck elephant sitting near my laptop. It trumpets if its back is petted. I find it highly amusing; it even blows kisses and will grab a finger with its trunk.

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/


  1. Provencal SummerJune 2, 2010 at 9:20 AM

    Thought-provoking! Elephants remind us of good and bad, that's for sure, and certainly, they are vital to all life.

    Nice piece!

  2. i was truly shocked by the Traveler article. Everyone should read it.

    Thanks for commenting,


  3. We know elephants have brains and souls and emotions. Ever see how they react to forced enslavement and brutal work conditions, as on logging farms in india, and in circuses? They fight back and go nuts, sometimes because they can't take it anymore. Elephant rampages (not to say that all elephants are dangerous, only that they will stand up for themselves) should clue us in that we don't always treat elephants right. Hunting elephants needs to stop, too. Who cares if ivory costs more now? Ivory-colored plastic looks just the same and it doesn't cost dozens of elephants' lives. People need to wake up.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  4. We've had education about blood diamonds (still, so many people don't know or don't seem to care enough) and now we need a push of education about the true cost of ivory.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.