Miguel del Pino: Relief for the elephant

The international organization Avaaz has obtained one of his greatest victories by getting the legislators of this population settled in favor of the ban on the ivory trade, mainly tusks, by an overwhelming majority.

The “rout”, as they qualify the spokespersons of Avaaz, recorded 48 votes in favor of such a veto against 4 against and no abstention. The fate of the traffickers seems to be cast, and we talked, again, of the market of greater global significance in extent and popularity.

It has not been easy to get this result and really the campaign has achieved a success very worked. It began with the presentation of one million one hundred thousand signatures to lawmakers, that would probably be very impressed by this flurry of protests from the friends of the elephants.

This initiative followed a series of activities such as the use of a lucky image in which a human hand open hold an entire family of african elephants. The motto accompanying it is “The elephant is in your hands”.

One of the most popular stars from China, call Li Bing Bing joined the campaign and attracted with their attractive image to thousands of new supporters. Finally even some of the lawmakers attended the vote carrying the famous banner above. Social networking was also supported by significantly.

The street protests were peaceful, and very colourful, all of a sudden it seemed that everyone was interested in the survival of one of the species most intriguing animals on the planet. The elephants them brought friends as if by magic, although it was nothing magical, but in the first place the great weight of the reason, along with a excellent advertising campaign.

A species prodigious

We are talking about the african elephant, Loxodonta africana, one of the two genera survivors of what was the order of the Proboscídeos, characterized by the transformation of the upper lip and the nose in a tube that is a true wonder of evolution.

Thousands of muscles are involved in this prolongation of the face of the elephant; the trunk has a power cyclopean that makes you able to knock down a tree but also of picking up a pin from the floor. With she takes the plant foods and is carried to the mouth, but can also be used as an effective hose in those showers that are so fond of these animals.

The large ears are radiators for heat emission to prevent the body temperature to rise too much during the hours of sunshine; and for this reason are higher in the african elephant than in their asian cousins of the monsoon forest, where the rigors of thermal tend to be more soft.

African elephants live in herds ruled by an elderly female; it is a matriarchal society where everything seems to be in function of protection of the offspring, who come into the world with a weight of around one hundred kilos. The child life of the elephant takes place between a forest formed by the legs columnar group of females that shelter, helping in this role to his mother.

On their travels the herds of elephants roam territories extensive enough as to allow the arboreal vegetation is regenerated after having been stripped of its bark to your step. A big problem, derived from the reduction of the space of its paths to the house in reserves, makes a return too soon to the place that had previously occupied in their circuits, without giving time to such regeneration.

The lack of practically enemies, the elephants follow the rule of ecological of to have very few offspring to prevent overcrowding, so that the actions of the poachers have lethal effects for the strength of their family groups.

In the previous centuries the myth of the “cemetery of elephants”, with immense riches of ivory, led numerous expeditions of prospectors and hunters in europe: it was logically a legend fueled by the reality that in some corners river from the heart of Africa were found to effectively accumulations of bones and ivory.

The existence of these deposits is due to such skeletons had been brought in by the river and deposited in such beaches by the installation along the water of copies of very old unable to eat hard plants, and used for both the vegetation more soft margins soaked by the water.

We are avoiding talking about fangs, as the defenses of the elephant with its important component of ivory are not fangs, but a transformation of the incisors: they not only serve for the communication between the different copies of a herd, but serve also as effective tools with which to dig and find water, improvising wells during times of drought.

The data of the tragedy.

The figures on killings of elephants in recent decades at the hands of poachers are chilling, but also indicate the existence of a conflict between humans related to poverty and underdevelopment.

The so-called “rangers”, or caretakers of the reserve, hold true wars to the death against the poachers, but despite that the one and the other is to play their lives in the effort, die every day in Africa some 82 elephants at the hands of illegal poachers, amounting to a total of 30,000 a year: a figure really incompatible with the future of the species.

Don’t need to be a conservationist or a professional of the ecology; to any person moderately sensitive would want their grandchildren to be able to continue to watch elephants and a garment admiring himself with his prodigious intelligence, and family functioning of their groups, so that the recent ban on the ivory trade in Hong Kong is a great news.