As the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade 2014 is taking place I thought I should draw attention to the plight of the majestic African elephants and rhino.
This shot was taken in Tsavo East, Kenya. It shows a positive interaction between elephants and man. The man on the tractor is about to fix the water pipe that fills the waterhole in times of drought allowing the elephants to drink. Elephants love fresh, clean water and regularly dig up the pipe.
There are many people that spend their days and nights trying to safeguard the dwindling numbers of elephants and rhinos across the African continent, some lose their lives in the battle as poachers become bolder and more determined to slaughter the animals for money and game rangers are themselves shot trying to protect them.
Nobody knows precisely how many elephants are being killed annually across Africa's vastness, but there is no doubt that it is in the tens of thousands. The most frequent estimates suggest it is in the range of 25,000 to 36,000 a year, but one recent estimate by Dr Sam Wasser, head of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington, worked out from the number of illegally traded tusks being seized, suggests the annual figure may be as high as 52,000.
There are, however, precise figures for the explosion in poaching of South Africa's rhinos. In 2007, 13 animals were killed; in 2008, the figure was 83; in 2009, it was 122; in 2010, it was 333; in 2011, it was 448; in 2012, it was 668; and last year it was 1,004.
The reason is simple: in Vietnam, where it is erroneously seen as a valuable medicine, rhino horn can be traded at an astonishing $65,000 (£40,000) per kilo. It is now worth more than gold and platinum, and is more valuable on the black market than diamonds or cocaine.
As for ivory, the price is now up to $3,000 a kilo, so a typical elephant could bring a poacher $30,000.
Why the upsurge?
An epidemic of elephant poaching to supply the ivory market in the late 1980s was brought to a halt in 1989 when the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) banned the worldwide trade in ivory products.
Poaching levels then dropped throughout the 1990s; but picked up again in the mid-2000s, and according to a United Nations report published last December, they have "jumped dramatically from 2009".
Many observers think the upturn was directly related to the fact that in July 2008 China was given permission, for the first time, to take part in a "one-off" legal sale of 108 tonnes of ivory from four southern African countries – South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe – whose elephant populations were regarded at the time as relatively healthy and well-managed.
Much of what you have read above has come from the following article which I urge you to read in total. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/london-conference-2014-the-world-wakes-up-at-elephants-eleventh-hour-9117081.html
Here is a larger version
This photograph is copyright of Rosemary Walden - © Rosemary Walden 2014. All rights reserved. Any redistribution or reproduction of the image in any form is prohibited. You may not, except with my express written permission, copy, reproduce, download, distribute or exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system
Critiques | Translate
Royaldevon (28449) 2014-02-13 1:57
I watched snippets from this, with uncontrollable sadness. These beautiful, majestic animals who have every right to lead a long, unstressed life, have been mercilessly poached and for what!!! It's like us being hunted for our toenails!!!
Thank you, Rosemary.
You have given us a strong reminder about our responsibilities to other creatures. The world needs to wake up to this carnage!!
You have given us a little reassurance.
This is a delightful shot, very well composed and showing how positive interaction works.
Have a lovely day,
timecapturer (47486) 2014-02-13 2:14
you know my love of these amazing creatures and it saddens deeply me when I see the slaughter that is happening. It has been on the news here this week in between the horrendous weather news reports. I do not know what the solution is, but I wish with all my heart it would stop. This wonderful image shows us how we can interact peacefully with these land giants. It is a fascinating, inspiring and a heart-warming image.
yquem46 (38532) 2014-02-13 2:23
I take it as a very symbolic view of the tricky cohabitation between desire for wildlife preservation and necessity for people living on cattle and agriculture in countries such as kenya or tanzania
A very good and informative shot
have a nice day, best regards
saxo042 (37226) 2014-02-13 3:11
A good and very interesting picture. Your note is also very readable! A strange combination wildlife with modern time!
RhodieIke (11552) 2014-02-13 3:50
Very topical, great photo of this guy and his tractor off to fix the water pipe.
They are amazing animals but are also can be very destructive and dangerous, as I witnessed first hand when in the Army and on patrol around, what was then Kariba.
I have read that in Zimbabwe they are becoming a huge problem to the locals and landowners as they have not been managed and culled. Their are loads also dying as they do not have enough water and food in certain areas and have grown in huge numbers.
Wonderful image, Tfs,
Warm or should I say cold and windy regards from Suffolk, 65mph around here but 105mph in some parts of the UK, and still more to come on Friday and next week.
CLODO (29914) 2014-02-13 4:34
A good picture relating the cohabitation betweem men and animals, and it seems that they understand that he is not a hunter!
HimalAnda (9125) 2014-02-13 4:52
What an amazing picture! We would never see such a scene in France!
The composition is good, the light is nice, and I like the dust on the elephants' foot.
Sergiom (57821) 2014-02-13 4:59
Même le tracteur semble petit devant ces superbes éléphants. La nature qui se plie devant la technologie et probablement le bruit.On dirait un cultivateur qui rassemble son troupeau avec de la poussière en prime.
Romano46 (16682) 2014-02-13 5:30
un bel contrasto tra la forza della natura, rappresentata dagli elefanto e la forza meccanica del trattore.
Un contrasto di civiltà e di forme che hai riassunto molto bene in una composizione - a mio parere - ben riuscita.
Notevboli sia i colori che la definizione.
Ciao e buona giornata
Subhogen (4065) 2014-02-13 6:29
My compliments on a superb well researched documentary photo. Living in India I am well aware of the poaching problem. Here we have the Royal Bengal tiger population almost wiped out. It is a shame for us human beings. With our gift of intelligence we were supposed to be the protectors of the creation, but on the contrary we have become the wreckers in chief.
Here you present a fine photo. Like the way how the tractor is dwarfed by the huge African element . Thanks for sharing.
COSTANTINO (53715) 2014-02-13 6:33
Hello dear friend
thanks for sharing with us this kind of
photos because we must know that there
is a different world from our world
your notes are really useful fror
holmertz (39529) 2014-02-13 8:52
I have no word for the anger I feel towards the outrageous poaching of these animals and the incredibly stupid and shortsighted people who keep the poachers busy. However, it was very interesting to read your explanation of this photo. I thought it showed the competition for land between farmers and animals. It is a stunning and unusual photo of African wildlife and an excellent contribution to TE.
ourania (29417) 2014-02-13 11:20
the facts are extremely discouraging, tens of thousands of elephants and an increasing number of rhinos killed every year only for artificially cultivated needs and, of course, outrageous amounts of money. So sad that people are some powerful people are really so petty and think of nothing else. If these animals disappear, they'll create other "needs" and myths to make money on. Your picture is lovely and fascinating. Working to provide for and protect the elephants is surely awesome. I hope everything will turn out well, the world gets informed and stands by them. Congratulations and thank you for picture and note!
All the best, have a lovely evening,
Noel_Byrne (22787) 2014-02-13 11:34
A powerful photo and a powerful note, I think I can feel your passion for this subject come through in how you have written this. I really don't know what to say in response to things like this, the folly of man, the stupidity of some medicines, the greed. There are so many things that seem to be at fault here, but the one thing that heartens me is to see that there are still so many people who ARE willing to risk their lives to save these incredible animals.
While my own interaction is in a very different way, here in Dublin we have the African Plains at the city zoo where the elephants roam around a large open space, but its still a zoo and I still have not made up my mind on that matter. Such beautiful majestic animals. I did hear that the elephant who recently turned over a car has been put down too.
Strangely, the value of Rhino horn is being seen in a rise in crime in Ireland too. Dublins Natural History museum has a number of animals on display from the 1700 and 1800's, including Rhino's. Their horns were removed by curators to avoid crime in the museum and they were put into army protected storage. Theives smashed into this storage and stole a number of them, breaking through barriers in a stolen truck to escape with them. Incredible that their value is such.
Sorry, long rambling note :) A beautiful pic Rosemary, and a heartfelt note. The perfect TE contribution.
All the best
carlo62 (30583) 2014-02-13 15:45
un bel documento, dove l'uomo interviene sulla natura non per distruggere, ma per aiutare.
La cattiveria e l'iqnoranza di pochi, rovina l'esistenza di molti, che siano questi animali, piante o ....simili.
Un bellissimo pensiero concretizzato con una bella foto e tanta buona volontà nel trasmettere notizia.
jjcordier (75174) 2014-02-13 21:53
Une étonnante rencontre entre ces "monstres" à quatre pattes et à quatre roues. Une image montrant bien l'interaction positive entre l'homme et l'animal....ce n'est pas toujours le cas malheureusement!
adidas5nb (4971) 2014-02-13 23:08
any pic including elephants is attractive and this one is no different.like the sense of action in the pic with great note.
Graal (96450) 2014-02-14 1:26
amazing scene, wild nature and tractor. Two themes in one. Good comment in note and photo-work.
Have a nice WE.
Mics (685) 2014-02-14 2:14
Just watching the news about illicit ivory trade this morning already broke my heart. According to BBC news, one elephant is slaughtered every 15 minutes just to fuel the demand for ivory. I hope that environment, wildlife and animal rights organizations will intensify their campaign and laws against poachers enforced strictly.
Thank you for sharing this photo together with your very informative note.
subhendu_bagchi (25509) 2014-02-14 5:09
wow! Nice combination of wild life and daily life here. I like how the man in tractor in the field to beside those wild elephants, though I think it is a dangerous act to be there in such open vehicle. Your composition is charming and the light you obtained is perfect. Excellent, as a photograph. Tfs.
macjake (54934) 2014-02-14 11:37
any photo with elephants, tigers, zebra's...they're going to be popular :)
but then i read the note...pretty disturbing isn't.
as Gert said, there really are NO words or phrases to describe the anger i'm feeling...absolute stupidity.
I often think that the Human Species is often the stupiest species on the planet - no doubt.
excellent post for TE.
and I also enjoyed the previous post of the fallen toilet - on a much lighter side of things.
williewhistler (13541) 2014-02-14 11:47
a fine documentary shot this.
There is a great deal of time being spent discussing the plight of of these magnificent animals,cynic that I am I fear that whilst there is still huge sums of money to be made by poachers and the traders, no amount of discussion will be able to resolve the problem.
There is a certain irony here in your photo where it appears that the humble elephants are being herded by a man in a very expensive 4 wheel drive tractor.
After another stormy day with a couple of brief power cuts we`re promised a calmer couple of days over the week end...
Kind regards Les.
abmdsudi (41998) 2014-02-14 19:34
The bright bold colours of the machine is there for
good reasons, thks to your description - and definitely make the diff in the dusty arid environment under the African sun but effectively creating good focal of interest to anchor the eyes. The justaposition is spot on, clarity is at its best quality with
excellent detail and contrast. This is a close encounter in the wild, viewing such a special majestic animals and really looked in good health too although I can't help feeling that there is a good deal of risk involved! Superb shot skilfully photographed, brilliant detail, clarity and the natural realistic colours.
Born Free ~ Lovely shot
ikeharel (55332) 2014-02-15 2:27
Looking at this intriguing photo, made me wonder who is invading the other party's land? men with machines or the Elephants, that it was their territory many years back.
Great issue about preserving wildlife, and people must find the equilibrium to live in harmony with what nature offer us. Nothing is for granted.
Fine photo of an importent issue.
Have a nice weekend,
Gigidusud (14705) 2014-02-16 3:41
Beautiful scene well captured. I like it!
tyro (19774) 2014-02-16 8:46
You have given us a wonderfully informative, though shocking, note and a most beautiful photograph with which to illustrate it.
Although I was aware of the conference to which you refer, I really wasn't aware that illegal trading in rhino horn and ivory was so much on the increase nor, more importantly, that the slaughter of these magnificent animals by poachers was escalating to such an awful extent. The prospect for the furure is indeed terrifying.
This is a beautiful photograph which shows off not only the beauty of these creatures but is delightfully composed and full of action, the dust kicked up by the elephants adding perfectly to that.
The light and colours are perfect, your exposure spot-on and the details and clarity are, as always, exquisite and, of course, best appreciated in the larger version of this image.
mkamionka (30084) 2014-02-17 7:37
beautiful photo and a very sad subject.
I understand that poor people may be forced to do terrible things just to earn money for the living but I suspect the people who actually are committing these crimes are not the poorest. I am regularly feeding birds in my garden and other people don't mind killing much larger animals sometimes just for fun.
Great photo here though combining wildlife and rural life.
The tractor adds a nice color too.
I think I will be never able to afford trip to Africa but still it is nice to think that the animals live out there in the wild. Strange feeling if they would disappear completely.
ACL1978 (7467) 2014-02-19 21:11
Hello, Rosemary - poking my head up at the tail end of a long winter to see how everyone on TE is... glad to catch this great bit of photojournalism. Nice to see from your note that this is actually an instance of cooperation rather than conflict, as is so often the case between elephants and farmers. Thanks for the informative piece of writing, and a good action shot to go with it. Hope you've been well!
siudzi (33005) 2014-02-20 2:08
You remind us about very important subject with submitting this image. Very sad scene this but taken perfectly with a wonderful quality. Many thanks for sharing!
serp2000 (39250) 2014-02-22 6:11
Very interesting report about the Wild life from Kenya. This man reminds me a shepherd of the elephants ;) Very interesting note and sad statistic.
Thanks for so interesting post.
Best wishes from Russia!
bachapi (369) 2014-05-28 11:26
What beautiful and amazing creatures! They should be protected... This shot is incredible Rosemary!