Elephants at the breaking point in Zimbabwe

Government silent as more elephants are slaughtered (Zimbabwe)

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I want to share this latest post  from the listserv of elephant-related articles gathered by Melissa Groo. It is heartbreaking to hear these stories and to feel the suffering these endangered and magnificent sensitive animals are experiencing for the sake of human greed, status, and conspicuous consumption.
Can we envision a different story playing out between human and elephant–a sudden shift towards reverence and respect for these majestic and complex beings, as they fight for their survival, not only as individuals but as a species? Can we see ourselves in the elephant and take the time to learn about them and from their ability to avoid conflict, come to consensus in groups and be cooperative with one another? Is there something we can learn from such an intelligent, emotional, and complex mammal with sensitivities and social structure as complex as our own?
Human elephant conflict is a true war over resources, similar to the fighting between tribes, countries, and people raising their voices against injustice and unfairness, cruelty and greed. Similar to the war over natural resources like oil, minerals and fresh water. War with the weapons we now have – drones, nuclear bombs, chemicals, infectious diseases – are now capable of damaging ecosystems, people and other species on a scale never seen before.
Can we imagine new educational priorities for the young in our own species, and especially those in cultures where consumption is most environmentally damaging? Can we imagine an entirely different priority from the compartmentalized subjects we have now which are losing some of their relevance in a world in which an unstable climate wreaks potential havoc? Can we teach from the heart, with the heart, and through the heart, a human footprint on the planet that is peaceful and cooperative, respectful, creative and noble?
Elephants were once known for their peaceful nature, but have become increasingly violent, as one would expect under the terrible stresses of poaching, habitat loss, hunger and grief.

January 19, 2012

Chiredzi(ZimEye)Zimbabwe’s elephants continue to be butchered and this week, another elephant was found bleeding to its death, just as the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry remained quiet.

A number of healthy elephants were this week killed in Zimbabwe’s Chiredzi Conservation area which is now gradually being turned into a makeshift farming area by invaders.

Another elephant (pictured) was found shot in the Chiredzi River Conservancy and the herd chased with ‘something like 10 shots being fired’ according to witnesses.

The total number elephants wounded as a result of the shooting to date is not known.

Large trees are still being chopped down to make way for crops that do not do well in the Lowveld.

A Conservationist in the area told ZimEye:

After seeing the 44 wild elephants at our little dam on Saturday  14.1.12 morning and noon we heard 4 shots from our homestead on the western side of the dam at 3.30.

At 5pm we heard a further 5 shots towards our boundary with Oscro. All shots were fired within the safe area for the wild herd. Nowhere near the resettled areas.

Monday morning at 7am we heard another 5 shots within half an hour. Monday afternoon one young elephant cow carcass was found, probably shot 4 or 5 days earlier on the eastern side of the Mungwezi River on Oscro. One tusk had been removed and the tail.

Tuesday lunch time another adult, lactating cow was found between our boundary and the Oscro ZRP station, tusks removed.

Tuesday late afternoon another elephant probably a young bull, was found lying on his brisket, tusks removed.

Other shots were reported on previous days, but too far for us to hear. How many more are lying rotting in the bush, how many more are running around with bullet holes, how many calves have lost their mothers?

“Large areas that have been cleared over the years are slowly become desertified and destroyed. Maize wilting where it has been planted in CRC, some patches have been completely burnt by the sun.
This is a tragedy on large scale that is taking place, and no one who has been put in positions to protect our wildlife and environment doing anything positive to do something to stop this destruction. The wildlife is being terrorized and traumatised,” a witness told ZimEye.

Efforts to get a comment from the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry were fruitless at the time of writing but earlier communication sent to the ministry in October last year still has not been replied to.

Article at the following link:
http://www.zimeye.org/?p=44466

About naturestage

Miranda Loud is the Founder and Artistic Director of the non-profit NatureStage based in Waltham, MA, and is an interdisciplinary artist - classical singer/organist/filmmaker/photographer and environmentalist. She writes about the vital need for education to include a more heart-centered approach to studying other species that leads to a sense of stewardship. Naturestage creates works that foster empathy and kinship with other species, using the emotional power of storytelling in different art forms, mainly film, photography and music. She is also a public speaker on art and social change. Her current projects include The One Language Project, Park Dreams, The Elephant Project, and Elephantasia which all use different art forms to encourage a mind shift in how we relate to other species by asking "How would the world be different if we viewed other species as someones instead of somethings? If, instead of drawing lines, we drew circles?"
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