The story of a tusk – 28KG / VOI RIVER / 30/5/14

Good morning, Dear Readers.

In a departure from writing something myself, I am sharing someone else’s words with you.

I have a special affection for elephants and for the Hindi god Ganesha, who is tattooed on my left inner wrist.

Some elephants will travel up to thirty miles in a day searching for water during the dry season. Imagine where you live and then going thirty miles in one direction. Think of how far that is.

Now read about another way to think of thirty miles.

I’ll be back on Monday. Have a thoughtful weekend.

Mark Deeble

The Ivory Burn is about to happen and for days the internet has been full of pictures of the pyres being built, conservationists having their pictures taken with tusks, and heart-felt video pleas.

Despite the piles of tusks rising above the plains in some grotesque parody of a rural village, I’ve found it hard to contemplate the significance of what they mean in terms of individual lives. There are so many that it is overwhelming.

We’ve tried. We worked out that the number of tusks in the pyres represents a procession of elephants over 30 miles long, and while it creates a powerful mental image, it gets us no closer to the individuals.

Procession : Burn

I was looking through images of the piles of tusks, posted by Salisha Chandra, cofounder of KUAPO (Kenyans United Against Poaching), when one close-up caught my eye. What first drew my attention, was a spiral bound notebook…

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