A sunset spent witnessing wild elephants in their wild homes is a surreal experience, and an exquisite reminder of what so many of us are fighting for. Nothing in conservation is what it seems—there are the fights you expect and the ones you don’t. There are the conflicts that you can understand (even when you can’t always resolve them), and the conflicts that you barely dream could ever have a resolution in them.
Creating sustainable change rarely has a direct path, and the complexities of resolving Human Elephant Conflict on a very crowded planet can be overwhelming. Some days though, you get lucky enough to quietly watch families of wild elephants simply being elephants, renewing the hope that the beauty you see is the beauty that can be saved.
We’re back in Cambodia now, ready to take our “Elephants Can’t Read” project to the next level! Meeting with the Community Board of the local education department, we reviewed how a year ago today we delivered school supplies to 127 kids going to Putrom 2 Primary School, many of them children of the minority ethnic Bunong, living not far from the border of Vietnam, and with long family histories in elephants.
Yesterday we helped the Elephant Livelihood Initiative Environment get children from 3 rural villages registered for the new school year, and soon we’ll set them up once again with all the school supplies they need, and also tend the library we built for them last year, filled with over 800 books, art supplies, and all kinds of mad love.
Trunks up for solid collaborations and for helping communities whose lives are intertwined with elephants—village by village, elephant-sized love changes lives, for the animals, the people, and the habitat they all call home.
We’re back in Thailand now after a challenging time working in Myanmar on several deeply saddening elephant situations. The trade of what some may call “elephant parts”, but we call “pieces of the bodies of sentient beings”, with every possible bit of these innocent animals being sold to the highest bidder. It is the most complex movement of illegal trade we’ve seen, and it was heartbreaking, eye opening, and never, ever, what it seemed.
From Myanmar, the main market for the the ivory, and the tail hair and elephant skin, is China. The market for elephant skin in China is huge. And this is, if it’s possible, more tragic than the ivory, as the murdering of entire elephant families and herds is done for skin. For the tusks, you need the big papas. For the skin, any age is a target…
CITES is slated to be held in Sri Lanka at the end of May 2019, and we’ll be there. It’s a bleak time for elephants, but more and more people around the world are fighting for the survival of the remaining wild ones, and for the humane treatment of those held captive. United we stand, in hopes that together, we can reverse the tragedy before it is too late as we fight for what’s right, for a kinder world for us all. We won’t give up, and we know you won’t either.