SUFFERING OF ELEPHANTS DOESN’T STOP BUT BEING ON RISE
“The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?”
The elephants are not just majestic animals what impress us with their deep intelligence and emotional core within but also their importance could be found in the mankind’s book of symbolism and culture. In which direction the meaning of elephants will go depends on the religious, ethnic and social collage we cope with.
If we talk about Asian cultures, the elephants symbolize the strength and wisdom. In South Asia, they are the part of the religious ceremony but unfortunately they aren’t protected they way they must be, based on their holy place among the people. The Thai culture often replaces the Year of Pig with the Year of elephant, and Islamic Tradition also considers the elephants very special because the Prophet Mohammad(savs) has been born in the year of elephant and the whole chapter of the Noble Qur’an has the name “The Elephant” which covers the story about white elephant named Mahmud which refused to get into Mecca and to bring there the ruler of Yemen, Abraha and his 40,000 men. The Judeo-Christian tradition has also follows the line of admiration for elephants, so they have been illustrated as strong creatures and symbol of pure lack. The prehistoric world has been impressed with ancient elephants and that could be noticed on the caving art. The old symbiosis between people and elephants has never been really broken but the fact is that people have betrayed the trust of elephants many times.
It is stated that every year people kill about 40,000 elephants. Imagine that number which is screaming on us and make us believe that our grandchildren will never see elephants. Like a mamut, it will be a memory.The disturbing facts from green zone are not only based on black ivory market and hunt for tusks but also on captivity industry and abuse of elephants in social entertainment and sick performances in the name of tourism. I would rather call this type of tourism as a typical wildlife terrorism and embarrassment of the global population and its humanity or anything which is considered as humanity and empathy.
The historical picture of elephants will put them among weapons in wars but many years back, the strength of elephants defined the end of the battle and victory of one army against another. That manner was accepted by asian people and many of them abused elephants in bloody conflicts, but at the end of the day, we haven’t been more rational than any animal in some hundreds years back. The beast used animals in war. However, the distinction between beasts and animals has not captured in history but also in our modern ages. Nowadays, we don’t use elephants against each others but we abuse them so we can feel better, have fun or entertainments. Elephants aren’t for purpose of killing but for purpose of free time and money. They bring money to those who torture them to learn to please those who pay to be pleased. Hosts and visitors.
The elephants could be categorized into African and Asian. The both species are very important but in spite of ivory madness in Africa, the asian elephants are even more endangered. The Bagheera portal writes the following:“The African elephant once roamed the entire continent of Africa, and the Asian elephant ranged from Syria to northern China and the islands of Indonesia. These abundant populations have been reduced to groups in scattered areas south of the Sahara and in isolated patches in India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia.Demand for ivory, combined with habitat loss from human settlement, has led to a dramatic decline in elephant populations in the last few decades. In 1930, there were between 5 and 10 million African elephants. By 1979, there were 1.3 million.In 1989, when they were added to the international list of the most endangered species, there were about 600,000 remaining, less than one percent of their original number.Asian elephants were never as abundant as their African cousins, and today they are even more endangered than African elephants. At the turn of the century, there were an estimated 200,000 Asian elephants. Today there are probably no more than 35,000 to 40,000 left in the wild.”
When we think of poaching, we must admit it is a serious problem but legal hunting of elephants is banned in almost all African countries.The real problems comes from the rich people who pay for illegal hunting of elephants under the excuse they are taking care of conservation. That must be stopped because African tourism gets more on living than on dead elephants. For example, Kenya alone receives about $50 million a year from tourists who come just to see elephants.
The Asian elephants are endangered by ivory dealers from China and Hong Kong who are trying to purchase the tusk as a medicament to rich elite in new developed Chinese society. Lions and tigers are being targeted for tiger and lion bone whine which enables full sexual potential of Chinese businessmen so the elephants pay the same price.But, the suffering of living animals in Thailand and Sri Lanka crosses the line of any tolerance and understanding for cultural diversity. The festivals which celebrate their believes are nothing but the vibrant boom of colors and pain for those powerful animals which are turned into slaves of human bestiality.
Definitely, the worst example of torture and abuse of elephants come s directly from Sri Lanka. The beautiful place with ugly soul. No matter if you are stuck in lovely Colombo, Kandy, Yala National Park , Nuwara Eliya, Galle or Jaffna, you will see that the barbaric spirit of treatment of animals will show up. Everything is made up for dollars and the life costs nothing. The smiling tourists who pay to ride poor elephants aren’t even aware that they are contributing to one global crime against nature and wildlife beauty.
The Kandy Esala Perehera is Sri Lanka’s festival what is held every July and August in Kandy town. That is simply one procession which celebrates the sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha and it is consisted of many different costumes and local varieties of dances and believes. This ceremony would be one of a kind if that doesn’t include the army of miserable elephants, what are brought to Kandy to satisfy local tourism’s greed. Ajita Kadirgamar writes for Colombo telegraph:“As an elephant, you will have walked many kilometres to get to Kandy, on searing tar roads in the blazing heat or if among the ‘fortunate’, you may have got a ride in the back of a truck, also in the scorching sun, manacled and chained, with crazed motorists coming at you left, right and centre, horns blasting furiously.As an elephant, you will have to suffer the weight and discomfort of the robes, capes, ornaments and battery powered electric lights covering your body and large ears that usually serve to ventilate. Your vision will be limited, you will hardly be able to see as you walk because the eye slits of your costume keep shifting and blocking your view.As an elephant, your so-called ‘carer’, the mahout, will sit on your neck and spine, prodding and poking you as he usually does, or he will walk by your side pulling at your multiple chains and jabbing your sore, weary legs with his bull hook (ankus).You may have to carry up to three people on your back on this occasion. Even a horse only carries a single rider.”
This is almost like a calvary. The procession you as a tourist admire is everything but not a reason for admiration but for a pure condemn. In the modern era, the slavery of living beings is not acceptable. When it comes to the religious glorification or social entertainment, this is just a reminder how barbaric we are and how primitive are our senses for empathy.
Riding elephants is a matter of choice. If you have money it doesn’t mean you are able to exploit beautiful and rare animals just for having photos to post on social media and to prove to your artifical friends how special you are. I am telling you that with the mentioned perspective, you are one low-life form and not the homo sapiens. But, you have a right to change yourself and those around you and to stop cruelty and the ruination of your own soul and spirit. Stand up against elephants suffering, not only in Sri Lanka but everywhere. Give them a voice. Long time ago, they made a world for people, the same people who make them extinct now. We owe them something but we don’t own them.