I am appalled at what that means – that the survival skills that the bull has painstakingly learnt over half a century have been rendered useless by the poachers’ use of mass-produced Chinese goods; GPS smart-phones, cheap motorcycles and night vision goggles.
I think the old bull knows that poachers want his tusks, and I hate that he knows.
More than anything, I hate the thought that poachers are now closing in on one of the world’s most iconic elephants. The Guardian [more inside]
"Elephants are obviously amazing, or rather, they are obvious receptacles for our amazement, because they seem to be a lot like us. They live about as long as we do. They understand it when we point at things, which our nearest living evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee, doesn’t really. They can unlock locks with their trunks. They recognize themselves in mirrors. They are socially sophisticated. They stay with the same herds for life, or the cows do, anyway. They mourn their dead. They like getting drunk. When an elephant keels over, its friends sometimes break their tusks trying to get it to stand up again. They bury their dead. They bear grudges against people who’ve hurt them, and sometimes go on revenge campaigns. They cry. So why would you want to put a bullet in one?"
... Journalist Wells Tower accompanied one of Botswana's final
elephant hunts. This article contains graphic content of an elephant hunt which some may find disturbing.
"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia
was written by Pliny the Elder
between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian
, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum
, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification. [more inside]
Baby elephant Navann plays in the mud pit and takes a dip in the river
with his mother and nanny at Elephant Nature Park in Mae Tang, Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. [slyt]
Did the disappearance of the elephant caused the rise of modern man?
Humans are not good at extracting energy from plants or converting protein to energy. Without fire to allow for better conversion, fat was a vital part of early man's diet. Elephants being slower and larger than many other prey was a prime hunting target. When the number of elephants declined, man had to find other sources. Hunting smaller, faster prey resulted in a change in human evolution. Man became lighter and their brain size increased to handle the requirements for hunting enough animals to provide the necessary fat.
Agony and Ivory.
"Highly emotional and completely guileless, elephants
mourn their dead—and across Africa, they are grieving daily as demand from China’s 'suddenly wealthy' has driven the price of ivory
to $700 a pound or more. With tens of thousands of elephants
being slaughtered each year for their tusks, raising the specter of an 'extinction vortex,' Alex Shoumatoff travels from Kenya to Seattle to Guangzhou, China, to expose those who are guilty in the massacre
—and recognize those who are determined to stop it."
It's not 'cheating' if you don't get caught.
Elephants can figure out how to cut corners.
For the Love of Elephants *starts with a short ad* Shot on location in Kenya, For the Love of Elephants closely observes the process by which an orphaned elephant named Sities survives the first days of recovery after arriving at an elephant rehabilitation centre near Nairobi, Kenya. previously [more inside]
Dame Daphne Sheldrick runs an orphanage in Kenya. For elephants. The orphanage
has been the focus of a report on 60 Minutes
and a special called "The Elephant Diaries
" on BBC1. At the orphanage, elephants are taught skills they will need to know in the wild, including how to play football
Baby Elephants Eat Christmas Trees
: in Germany, baby Elephants are put to work eating five fir trees apiece each day. [more inside]
The aquatic ancestry of elephants
Scientists believe they have discovered why elephants have trunks - they used them as underwater snorkels. New research suggests that the animals evolved from mammals like the sea cow. [more inside]
Alf Leif Erickson is the Captain of the American Screw Tuskers Elephant Polo team . Alf is a retired attorney and former law professor from Florida. This alone doesn't make much of a post, but, you guessed it, there more, sometimes NSFW, inside..... [more inside]
Gregory Colbert's Ashes and Snow
has been linked to twice before on Metafilter. However, you can now view 10 minutes
of his film as part of his Ted Talk--it's the most stunning nature footage I've ever seen. In the talk he also mentions a new concept he's developing called Animal Copyright
, which I think is long overdue.
Elephants are self aware
(news story, videos). "As a result of this study, the elephant now joins a cognitive elite," said researcher Frans de Waal at Emory University
. [Past posts tagged with "elephant" "elephants"]
Looking for a new religion? Something to save your soul? Do you like Elephants? Then consider becoming a Babarist
, a new religion that is seeking to spread the word of Babar
. Followers seek to influence and enhance every facet of their lives by asking "What would Babar do
"My roommate got a pet elephant. Then it got lost."
(For weeks I've been collecting special elephant links for a FPP; I guess I'm late again. So here we go.)
Time for a Thai Massage
(Includes a Thai Massage). Elephants on LSD
. Elephants playing soccer
. And Elephant encyclopedia
. Christopher Bahn posted a large collection of Links about Elephants
on “Incoming Signals”. Off-subject: Crazy German bikers
, female bodybuilders
and Velada Romántica
Around A.D. 800, the storied Caliph Haroun Al-Raschid sent a diplomatic delegation
some two thousand miles from Baghdad to Aachen, the seat of Charlemagne's
empire. Among the many gifts for the Frankish ruler that accompanied the delegation was Abul-Abbas
, the first recorded elephant north of the Alps.
Philadelphia Zoo will close Elephant Exhibit,
America's "Oldest Zoo"
announced Thursday - becoming the 11th zoo in the US to stop displaying elephants
since the Detroit Zoo
made such a decision two years ago. Is this officially a trend
Should Mumbai ban elephants from the city?
They're already using microchipped
to crack down on "illegal elephants"
being used for begging. Is this the next step?
might just tell us a lot about ourselves.
There are rehab programs
for elephants [mefi thread], and perhaps the ones for human victims can paired
. This would be a pretty big step in acknowledging the trans-species psyche.
Could this lead to a scientific revultion
? Should it lead to an ethical one
Eine Kleine Naughtmusik
[pdf]. Great article on music by nonmusicians
from Dave Soldier
- the guy that brought you People's Choice Music
[a musical work that will be unavoidably and uncontrollably liked by 72 +/- 12% of listeners
], the Tangerine Awkestra
[These children met in a schoolroom, where they listened to records by Ornette Coleman and Roscoe Mitchell of the Art Ensemble of Chicago played by their teacher, Katie Down. The children said they could do that. Down said they could NOT. The kids said can TOO. Down said could NOT and brought her own collection of musical instruments to school. The kids immediately became Artists and formed a band.
] and of course the now infamous Thai Elephant Orchestra
In Asia, elephant habitat is shrinking,
bringing them into conflict with humans, though groups like the ANCF
are trying to help them coexist
. In Africa, countries with ivory markets have agreed to control or prevent the trade
in a plan to be submitted to CITES
. I would love
it if we rewilded elephants
in the Americas
Goodbye, Norma Jean.
Norma the elephant was killed by a stroke of lightning. Seventy years earlier, though, Topsy
was electrocuted by Thomas Edison, to "demonstrate" the danger of alternating current. Only a few years later, Mary
was sentenced to death by hanging, to the amusement and edification of onlookers. It's rough being an elephant in America.
Bring Back the Elephants!
This article proposes returning these "super keystone species"
to the Americas, which were inhabited by proboscideans
for so long. The eating habits of free-ranging elephants would help prevent wildfires
, and this extreme exercise in rewilding
would restart the evolution of one of humanity's own "evolutionary nursemaids."
Freak Show: Jumbo In The New World
"In 1903, American inventor Thomas Edison arranged to have an elephant publicly electrocuted in Luna Park. Up to that point Edison, in his bitter campaign to discredit the electrical theories of George Westinghouse, had been content to publicly electrocute cats and dogs. When Topsy, an enraged circus elephant, trampled to death its third trainer in three years, Edison offered to "execute" the animal in a way that would demonstrate once and for all his belief in the dangers of alternating current. The electrocution of this elephant was filmed and apparently the footage can still be viewed at the Coney Island Museum."
Every worker is entitled to a pension. Kerala elephants
working for the local government will enjoy a number of work benefits according to the Indian state's decision
on a set of rules for their upkeeping.
West Bengal seems to have taken similar measures
some years ago.
use it to communicate, the military have sought to harness
its power as a weapon
(.pdf). So have The KLF
. Now, a group of avant garde musicians invite you to feel the bass
. If reports of the Feraliminal Lycanthropizer
are to be believed, that could be one hell of a gig.
"PETA Wins Right to Have Newest Party Animal" Judge orders
the D.C. Commission on the Arts
to allow PETA
to display an entry in an ongoing public street art exhibit featuring elephants and donkeys, entitled "Party Animals Public Art Project
The Asian Elephant Art and Conservation Project
was founded by artists Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid to teach domesticated elephants to paint so their works could be sold to support the elephants and their human masters.
Edison electrocutes an elephant at Coney Island.
I never knew this horrifying bit of history until I read about it via rscharm's MeFi post.
Animals thought extinct found in remote Cambodian jungle:
British scientists have found a wilderness in the Cardamom region of Cambodia where exotic species, some though to be
extinct, have been found. These include the Siamese
crocodile, the wolf snake (a new species so named because of
its dog-like fangs), large populations of tigers and Asian
elephants, and the gower, a forest cow. Ironically, the habitat was protected from significant human
intrusion because it was a longtime Khmer Rouge stronghold
and also because routes lead to and from it are landmined.