acacia blossoms

acacia blossoms

Saturday, March 3, 2012

under cover of darkness


Last night I couldn't sleep. Insomnia ruled the moonlit hours. The candles were not enough to read by, nor was the moonlight.  I lay and listened to the soft night noises. There it was - a gentle sporadic swishing of grass. Another  sound  like a canvas sail unfurling.  I sat up quietly and stepped through the mosquito net onto the creaking floorboards.  Moving as quietly as possible - trying to remember which were the noisy floorboards i made my way out onto the deck. Just below where i stood, a young bull elephant was grazing on bunches of lush grass, swishing them against the ground to loosen any earth or unwanted sticks.  With the wind in my favour i stood and watched him slowly move along, the moonlight washing the skin on his back with silver.

Further along the floodplain there were more dark shapes, both large and small. A breeding herd of elephants had moved into the island of trees under cover of darkness to reap the harvest of shrubs and herbs that they cannot access in daylight because people live here.  In the dead of night they can move in peace.

Recently I subscribed to receive newsletters from a group called www.elephantnews.org  if you would like to sign up contact groo@elephantnews.org  Every news report that involves elephants in Africa and Asia lands in your mailbox.  I had to unsubscribe from the Asia list purely because the tsunami of news reports was overwhelming.  Elephants truly are newsworthy!
Yet most of the news is saddening;  elephants killed by poachers here, and there, in their hundreds.   Crateloads of ivory from poached elephants are uncovered in major sea ports and airports across east and southern Africa.  These tons and tons of blood ivory, lead to houses full of ivory processing machines and more and more cases for shipment. All destined for China and the Chinese market.

It leads me to wonder if there is still room for free ranging elephants amidst our land hungry species.

Tonight the elephants are moving further into the forest, content with their moonlight browsing. By morning they will be gone.


6 comments:

Lori ann said...

a lovely picture that you've painted here with your words val, the sounds the ellies make in the night, swishing and moving. gentle giants that they are.

and as naive as it is, i can't think of all the poaching still occuring. i have to think things are getting better not worse. as for china, as hard as it can be sometimes, we won't spend one dollar on anything made in china. and luckily, there are many here that are doing the same thing. i wish we could do more.

Lorna Cahall said...

Thanks for the wonderful description. I've never been to Africa but you took me there for a moment.
I know the sadness of species loss. It is everywhere and so insane.

Angela said...

Too sad, I could cry.

Val said...

Lori - the assault on africa's wildlife is epidemic; but many people are working hard to protect and conserve so there is always hope. I would prefer to be an ostrich and bury my head in the sand, but they may be next on the list. Interesting about the boycott of chinese goods there x

Lorna - you are right - it is insane. thanks for visiting!

Geli - sorry x

Cheryl Cato said...

Your description of the bull elephant grazing is glorious. I feel so at peace and restful reading about its movements.

My heart is heavy at reading about the poachers. I am heartsick about this... I guess it is the same as poachers of the great apes.

Thank you for your beautiful post.

sandy said...


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