by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author’s program note. In 1911 Shelton Brooks wrote and composed a tune that became the signature song for the “Last of the Red-Hot Mamas”, Sophie Tucker. There wasn’t a woman alive (not a girl, mind, but a card-carrying woman) who didn’t love Tucker for getting up off her backside and singing it like it is… about the woman who gave so much, only to be discarded and spurned by her man… the man who thereby let you know he was on his way to other places, other people. And so as Sophie got up and belted out the words, you knew she was singing for you…
“Some of these days. You’re gonna miss me honey/” Some of these days. You’re gonna feel so lonely.”
And no matter how demur and sweet you were, when Sophie sang this strident song, a declaration of intent, you got up and sang it with her, yeah even if you were an arthritic 88… because you were angry about that no good man; because you were hurtin’… because you needed to make it clear you were still here, still desirable, still alive… and that your best days were not in the past… but just around the corner.
Sophie’s song was liberating, cathartic, a soul-lifter, helping you get through the lonely days and even lonelier nights… so you could get up and keep going.
If only the elephants had a defender like Sophie Tucker… and a tune like this one.which you’ll easily find in any search engine)… maybe they wouldn’t be facing extinction by 2020. But they don’t… and that’s just one more reason for despair….
2011 a catastrophic year for the endangered African elephants.
Let’s be clear about something: specialists have known for some time, and have regularly reported, that the end of the elephants is at hand unless radical action is taken and taken NOW. One of the greatest creatures on our Third Rock from the Sun, the elephant, is about to go the way of all flesh… only a comparative handful of bullets now stand between them and total, complete, irrevocable extinction. The latest installment of this tragedy is being reported now.
On December 29, 2011, for instance, Tom Milliken, an elephant and rhino specialist for the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC said, “2011 has truly been a horrible year for elephants.” Why? For the usual reason: ivory. 2011 was the worst year on record since ivory sales were banned in 1989, so bad that the world is just 8 short years away from being present when the last great elephant is shot… thereby demonstrating yet again how unfit we humans are for the task of saving this planet and its creatures, wiped out one by one because of our proven ineptitude and malfeasance.
It’s all about the ivory.
Milliken is clear and emphatic about the problem: “In 23 years of compiling ivory seizure data… 2011 is the worst year ever for large ivory seizures.” As many as 3000 elephants were killed by poachers in the last year, a figure of horror… pushing these elephants, bullet by bullet… into a future without their majesty and wonder,
In one case in early December, Malaysian authorities seized hundreds of African elephant tusks valued at $1.3 million that were being shipped to Cambodia. The ivory was hidden in containers of Kenyan handicrafts. Per usual, avarice was in the driver’s seat. Particularly in Asia….
Experts agree that most of the outrages nowadays involve ivory being smuggled from Africa into Asia, where growing wealth has fed the desire for Ivory ornaments and for rhino horn that is used in traditional medicine, though scientists proved long ago that it has no medicinal value whatsoever. And so African elephants die to provide gimcrackery for the nouveau riche and fake medicine for the credulous and duped. Yes, for such trivial causes do these great elephants die…
TRAFFIC said Asian crime syndicates are increasingly involved in poaching and the illegal ivory trade across Africa, a trend that coincides with growing Asian investment on the continent. From his headquarters in Zimbabwe Milliken said, “The escalation in ivory trade and elephant and rhino killing is being driven by the Asian syndicates that are now firmly enmeshed within African societies.There are more Asians than ever before in the history of the continent, and this is one of the repercussions.” Tom Milliken is a brave man; these syndicates cannot like these words… and it is easy, so easy, to shoot one bullet in the night into an elephant — or into the good people like Milliken who try to protect them and so notify the world about what’s going on.
Fewer elephants every single day and less hope for the future.
By the end of this day another 25 elephants will die… and with their passing there will be even less chance to preserve the survivors. The problem is acute in Congo, northern Kenya, southern Tanzania, and northern Mozambique… and most of all, in Chad where the elephant population is at crisis level, worsening with every passing day as their dwindling numbers make clear.
For instance, in the 1980′s experts estimated the total population of African elephants around 1 million, with 70,000 elephants being killed a year. Now, at the commencement of 2012, their numbers are less than 470,000 with poachers more ardent and determined as elephants move closer to extinction. Poachers sense they must act now… or never. Thus, authorities seized at least 13 large seizures in 2011… compared to 6 in 2010.
And as the elephant goes, so go all the creatures dependent on it.
Earth is a series of interlocking networks; we are all dependent on others who, in turn, are dependent on us. Thus as the elephants die, their essential work of opening habitats for other species is diminished; and so the fate of one becomes the fate of many until there is crisis and extinction for all.
The African elephant is at the crucial tipping point where, soon, it will be too late to change the course of events. We are close, so very close to this moment, but the important thing is that we are not there yet. We can still, just now, make a difference by…
* Writing to the President of the United States and urging his immediate action.
* Sending a few bucks to TRAFFIC and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
* Asking your Congressman and Senator to introduce resolutions on the matter.
* Getting the kids in your school to sign a petition, then sending it to your mayor and asking for a “Save the Elephants” Day.
Get the picture?. We must not allow what could now so easily happen, allowing the African elephant to go gentle into this good-night. We must fight, fight against the waning of the light, like Dylan Thomas wrote…. and as Sophie Tucker sang…
for “when you leave me, I know it will grieve me You’ll miss your little baby Yes, some of these days.”
Let’s all do our bit at once so we never have to grieve, in these or any other days…
*** WHat do you think? Share your comments below.
About the Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a wide range of online services for small and-home based businesses. Services include home business training, affiliate marketing training, earn-at-home programs, traffic tools, advertising, webcasting, hosting, design, WordPress Blogs and more. Find out why Worldprofit is considered the # 1 online Home Business Training program by getting a free Associate Membership today. Details at worldprofit.com