One of the most moving moments in my life came on an evening in Zimbabwe. I was in the country covering a conference and had taken some time away to visit Hwange National Park with two friends. After a meal of traditional African fare at the Hwange Safari Lodge, we made our way – at sundown – toward a waterhole. There, we spied – silhouetted in the half-light glow – a herd of more than 40 elephants coming in to take an end of the day drink. The adults strode in slowly and their young clung close to their sides. I couldn’t hold back the tears and found myself weeping and weeping, overcome by so many emotions. I felt so privileged to be in their presence. But there was even more to the moment, for behind them – in the distance – I could see herds of impala, zebra and wildebeest racing across the savanna. The images from that night are indelibly stamped on my heart and memory and I find I am – even now – near to tears as I place myself again in that space, in that magical moment, at Hwange.
Trophy hunting is a thoroughly disgusting and evil practice, and I am sickened, furious and heartbroken that the ban on elephant trophies would be reversed by the current US administration!!!!!!
This reversal makes no sense whatsoever when elephant populations are decreasing. It’s far more than a stretch to call this a “conservation” move when Zimbabwe is in the midst of an apparent coup and is seen as so riddled with corruption and so lacking in transparency.
Accompanying image of an African elephant by Oliver Wright.