Category Archive 'Elephants'

04 Jan 2018

A Man-Eating Elephant

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David Shepherd, Wise Old Elephant, 1960s

Recently on FB, one of my college friend’s associates was abusing the younger Trumps for hunting elephants. He described elephants as intelligent and affectionate creatures, and stated that the idea of people hunting them made him weep.

This fellow was a typical example of the deracinated and emasculated urban male, who draws his understanding of the natural world from sentimental, anthropomorphizing nature programs in the mode of Disney. People like this think meat grows on supermarket shelves and that elderly wild animals retire to live on pensions in nursing homes.

The reality is that big game animals, particularly elephants, are commonly in direct competition with African natives for living space. Elephants, additionally, constitute huge potential windfall sources of meat and ivory and inevitably attract poachers. African countries take care to protect and preserve wild elephants in a world in which wealthy foreign sportsmen, like the Trumps, come to hunt, providing lots of local employment for safari staff at a cost of thousands of dollars per diem and fork over $25K or more for elephant license fees. It’s the hunters who provide both the incentive and the financing for game conservation.

As to the affectionate character of elephants, like a lot of other animals, elephants are known to kill the offspring of competing males, and sometimes simply to become rogue killers. My college friend’s New York associate obviously never read Sir Samuel Baker and has no idea that elephants have been known to turn maneater….

There was a notorious rogue elephant at Dolana about 30 years ago whose ferocity was so extreme that he took complete possession of a certain part of the country adjoining the lake. He had killed eight or nine persons, and his whole object in existence appeared to be the waylaying and destruction of the natives. He was of enormous size, and was well known by a peculiar flesh-colored forehead.

In those days there were no firearms in this part of the country; therefore there was no protection for either life or property from this monster, who would invade the paddy fields at night and actually pull down the watchhouses, regardless of the blazing fires which were lighted on the hearth of sand on the summit; these he used to scatter about and extinguish. He had killed several natives in this manner, involving them in the common ruin with their watchhouses. The terror created by this elephant was so extreme that the natives deserted the neighborhood that he infested.

Many months passed away without his being either seen or heard of. The people began to hope that he had died from the effect of poisoned arrows, which had frequently been shot at him from the watchhouses in high trees. By degrees the terror of his name had lost its power, and he ceased to be thought of.

It was in the cool of the evening, about an hour before sunset, that about 20 of the women from the village were upon the grassy borders of the lake, engaged in sorting and tying into bundles the rushes that they had been gathering during the day for making mats. They were on the point of starting homeward with their loads when the sudden trumpet of an elephant was heard, and to their horror they saw the well-known rogue, with the unmistakable mark upon his forehead, coming down in full charge upon them. The ground was perfectly open; there were no trees for some hundred yards, except the jungle from which he was advancing at a frightful speed.

An indiscriminate flight of course took place, and a race of terror commenced. In a few seconds the monster was among them, and, seizing a young girl in his trunk, he held her high in the air and halted, as though uncertain how to dispose of his helpless victim. The girl, meanwhile, was vainly shrieking for assistance, and the petrified troop of women, having gained the shelter of some jungle, gazed panic-stricken upon the impending fate of their companion.

To their horror, the elephant slowly lowered her in his trunk till near the ground, when he gradually again raised her, and, bringing her head into his mouth, a report was heard like the crack of a whip—it was the sudden crushing of her skull. Tearing the head off by the neck, he devoured it and, placing his forefoot upon the body, tore the arms and legs from their sockets with his trunk, devouring every portion of her.


26 Mar 2015

Elephants Save 18-Wheeler Truck

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Business Insider describes an emergency situation in which it turned out that the trucker had exactly the right equipment in the back of his cargo bed.

Sometimes, the only thing standing between you and your 18-wheeler tipping over in the Louisiana mud is a couple of elephants that you’ve fortunately been transporting.

That’s just what happened on Tuesday when a truck became stranded by the side of a Louisiana road.

Sheriff’s deputies in Natchitoches Parish on Tuesday morning received a call about a stuck truck. Upon arriving on the scene, they saw two elephants preventing the vehicle from overturning.

Leaning side-by-side against the outside of the truck, the elephants propped up the trailer that was carrying three of the beasts from Florida to a circus near Dallas, the sheriff’s photos showed.

The truck had pulled over on an interstate shoulder near Powhatan, Louisiana, about an hour south of Shreveport. The ground was soft after recent rain.

08 Jan 2010

Circus Elephants Cruelty Case Dismissed

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After dragging through the courts for nine years, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) lawsuit against Feld Entertainment, owner of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus, alleging that training and exhibiting circus elephants constituted cruelty to animals and represented a violation of the Endangered Species Act was dismissed by a federal judge after a six week trial, when the judge concluded that the key witness and joint plaintiff, a former Ringling Brothers employee and elephant handler named Tom Rider, had been paid by animal rights groups for his participation.

The Telegraph reports:

[District] Judge Sullivan.. dismissed the plaintiffs’ case after it emerged that Rider had been paid tens of thousands of dollars by the animal rights groups involved.

“The court finds that Mr Rider is essentially a paid plaintiff… who is not credible, and therefore affords no weight to his testimony,” he wrote in his verdict.

“Mr Rider’s self-serving testimony at trial about his personal and emotional attachment to these elephants also is not credible because he did not begin to make complaints about how Feld Entertainment treated its elephants until after he began accepting money from animal activists.”

Rider had compared his affection for the Ringling Bros elephants, which he called his “girls,” to his love for his own family, and claimed that he had left both Ringling and another circus due to the distress he suffered while working there.

Evidence produced by the defence, however, demonstrated that Rider had never communicated dissatisfaction with the animals’ treatment to any employer. He was unable to recall the names of all his former charges and in one photograph was even shown using a bullhook.

Feld Entertainment’s (FEI) attorney in the trial, Michelle Pardo of Fulbright & Jaworski, said that “the case uncovered a very curious and disturbing side about the agenda of some of these animal rights groups, and what they do with donors’ money”.

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