They plod slowly across yellow grasslands to the Zambezi River – a jumble of grey trunks and broad flapping ears and magnificent curved tusks.
Babies after mothers. Heads down.
Their daily ritual of returning to the life-saving river to drink and bathe, as the afternoon sun scorches the African bush.
Our plane rises above, and they get smaller, smaller, smaller.
Soon, they’re but an indistinguishable blur on the landscape. An aching memory only.
An elephant never forgets – or is it the other way around?
We’ve returned from our trip to Africa and our safari in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park.
Clothes have been washed and put away. Photos have been filed.
But we can’t stop thinking about the elephants.
Elephants on our minds
Across the African continent, elephants are being slaughtered in record numbers for their ivory tusks.
It’s estimated that 10,000 to 15,000 elephants are killed each year in Africa by poachers. last year.
According to World Elephant Day, more elephants are still being killed for ivory than are being born in the African continent.
Add to that the loss of their habitat due to people wanting land for houses and farms, and you have a terrible crisis.
Are elephants going extinct?
Conservationists fear elephants could soon become extinct.
It’s predicted that elephants could become extinct by 2040.
Many African safari camps do their utmost to help conservation efforts.
This organization supports the Zambian Wildlife Authorities’ anti-poaching efforts in the park. (Zambia’s elephant population plummeted from 35,000 in the 1970s to only 6,000 in the 1990s.)
We’ll never forget the elephants
In the words of actor Bill Murray at the end of Larger than Life:
“You know… they say an elephant never forgets. What they don’t tell you is, you never forget an elephant.”
It would be an unthinkable tragedy if the elephants were to disappear. And become just aching memories…