When the time came to choose an animal as my totem/symbol/mascot/friend, I immediately thought of the elephant. As I was born and grew up in South Africa, this means the African elephant. It was an intuitive impulse at the time but has stayed with me ever since. My closest experience of elephants was touching a free, but human-accustomed, young elephant at a game park near Harare, Zimbabwe (photo of the elephant and guide below) and being visited very closely by some elephants during an overnight on a game platform in Hwange game park, also in Zimbabwe.
|In my view, the finest writing on elephants is an epic poem by Heathcote Williams. This is an abridged version:
AFRICAN ELEPHANT READING & LISTENINGSacred Elephant - The poem in print and audio.
Jason Godesky: Elephant Men - Elephants respond to human destruction.
Martin Meredith: Elephant Destiny - Biography of an Endangered Species in Africa.
Dalene Matthee: Circles in A Forest. In the forest home of the world's most southerly elephants.
Living with Elephants Foundation.
Elephants are the only animals that can't jump.
NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF AFRICAN ELEPHANTS
Etosha Elephant Photograph © Stanton Newman
How to be a Wild Elephant. CBC, September 11, 2014
SITIES is a 500 KG, three year old African Elephant who tragically lost her family at just three months old.
Elephant and bee researcher nets green prize. BBC News, November 23, 2011
They used the findings to construct barriers where beehives are woven into a fence, keeping the elephants away from places where people live and grow food.
Leakey backing for elephant cull. BBC News, March 17, 2008
The eminent conservationist Richard Leakey has given qualified backing for South Africa's plan to cull elephants.
Trade bans are a blunt tool for saving endangered species. The Economist, March 6, 2008 A better policy is to make wildlife more valuable to man, not less. Elephants pee to keep in touch with family. The Telegraph, December 5, 2007
Elephants keep tabs on their family members with the help of urine, according to a study led by Prof Richard Byrne of the University of St Andrews that is a testament to how the creatures not only have good memories but update them too to keep abreast of what their relatives are up to.
Elephants sense 'danger' clothes. BBC News, October 18, 2007
African Elephants, Etosha Photograph © Stanton Newman
The study found African elephants reacted with fear when they detected the scent of garments previously worn by men of the Maasai tribe.
Scientists map elephant evolution. BBC News, July 24, 2007
Scientists say they have calculated the date at which the African and the Asian elephant went their separate ways.
African deal cut on ivory trade. BBC News, June 5, 2007
Southern African nations will be permitted a further one-off sale of legally acquired ivory from stockpiles, with funds going for conservation.
US 'major illegal ivory importer'. BBC News, June 5, 2007
While applauding the efforts of customs forces to seize consignments of ivory, it says monitoring and enforcement at the retail level is virtually non-existent.
Elephants get trunk line to crucial habitats. The Telegraph (UK), June 3, 2007
Conservationists are to build a five-mile "elephant highway" in a dramatic new initiative to protect the African elephant.
African nations clash over elephant ivory trade. Reuters, May 30, 2007
Debate over a proposed 20-year ivory trade ban has split African countries between those who want to protect the beloved elephant and others who say elephant populations have grown at an unsustainable rate.
Organized crime fuels illegal ivory surge in Africa. World Wildlife Fund, May 10, 2007
Asian-run organized crime syndicates based in Africa are being implicated in the increase in illegal trade in elephant ivory.
Zambian wins 'Nobel green prize'. BBC, April 23, 2007
A Zambian man has won a prestigious Goldman Prize for helping to curb widespread elephant poaching by setting up economic projects for villagers.