Tag Archives: wildlife photographer

Beasts of Burden

Free and wild, as they should be.

On the other side of the world, a highly-stressed Asian elephant in India has recently ‘rampaged’ through Kerala, trampling on motorcycles and tuk-tuks and was eventually brought down by tranquilliser shots, amidst pandemonium. These elephants succumb to consistent, high levels of stress in chaotic, unnatural environments in densely populated and polluted cities, and forced to be beasts of burden as they have done for over 5000 years in India: to give rides, and to pull cargo. This unnatural life unsurprisingly leads to them being excessively frustrated, and will at some point come to a breaking point and lash out, as any elephant would do… or as any human would do.

In this area, the elephant is heralded as a God, yet they are forced to endure this kind of life, and in many cases, leads to their deaths because they are ‘uncontrollable.’ When this concept is juxtaposed with the freedom that these wild African elephants enjoy, it seems all the more absurd.

May there be a day where no animal should ever have to be a beast of burden for man. For our role is not to domesticate wild creatures- but to ensure they live freely and in the wild, so they can be free to be elephants.

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#jointheherd

My post today is in support of WildAid’s campaign to stop the elephant poaching crisis. As many would know, the Chinese Year has just begun in the Year of the Monkey. This year, WildAid hopes to make 2016 the first-ever Year of the Elephant to help save elephants from the ivory trade. Lend your voice, help spread the word and #Jointheherd to make your support count.

没有买卖,就没有杀害.

Stop the trade so the killing can too.

Living in harmony

While ways to deal with charging elephants in parks is well known, human-elephant conflict occurs every day in the wider world, which results in hundreds of human and elephant casualties yearly. Village populations spend a good chunk of time protecting their crops from being eaten by elephants, or their homes from being accidentally trampled on- an issue that spans across both the African and Asian regions. What we’re merely seeing here, however, is just an elephant being an elephant. But due to their supposed encroachment on ‘human territory’, they are subsequently killed by electrocution, poisoning, shot, or all of the above. For many who are unaware of the alternatives, the simplest solution is to kill the creature, and in so doing, kill the ’nuisance’. More lastingly is the animosity towards elephants that perpetuates, and subsequently passed down to future generations. This cannot by any means, be sustainable for both the human or the elephant species.

We all share the same space. No problem should ever have to result in death.

Support organisations such as the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Born Free Foundation that seek to reduce human-elephant conflict in ethical ways, by promoting alternatives to deter elephants from villages while ensuring pathways for sustainable livelihoods. Because all lives matter.

“All breathing, existing, living sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away.”

-Mahavira

Of the highest caliber

A page of a catalogue is flipped. One page is adorned with a photograph of an East African Oryx. Found only north of the equator, this graceful creature has beautiful distinctive markings that can be spotted from miles away, with elegant, spiralled horns that lean towards the back. It lives in Samburu, a semi-arid savannah dotted with scrub and hills. This area was where George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness.

Exotic. Graceful. Stately. US$700. Recommended calibre: .300 Magnums.

This would be a page from a hunting catalogue if Kenya allowed trophy hunting. Elsewhere in Africa however, the industry is very much alive and legal, and continues unabated, at the expense of beautiful animals such as this oryx being killed for sport every single day.

How could it be that an animal, purposely described for its beauty, be described as a ‘beautiful game trophy’- an oxymoron, if there ever was one- on the very same page with which it is advertised?

May this antiquated sport be outlawed once and for all, and may there be a day when all animals are treated with the respect they deserve. Because all lives matter.