“… But there was one Elephant–a new Elephant–an Elephant’s Child–who was full of ‘satiable curtiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions. And he lived in Africa, and he filled all Africa with his ‘satiable curiosities …”
(Rudyard Kipling’s ‘ The Elephant’s Child’)
A deal has been done – a sale has been agreed and the animals delivered … but not everyone is happy. The animals sold are young, wild-born Zimbabwean elephants, and the buyer is China.
Zimbabwe is selling not just the family jewels, it’s selling family. It is exporting them as though they were goods, to a remote land that has little experience of the needs of this great, intelligent species.
Ségolène Royal says no to Zimbabwe’s elephants
In a statement released this evening Ségolène Royal, France’s minister for “l’Écologie, du Développement durable et de l’Énergie” clarifies that she will not authorise the import into France of elephants from Zimbabwe.
The elephant – “a symbol of purity, a dream of paradise lost” (words of Romain Gary in Dear Elephant, Sir)
In 1967 Romain Gary wrote an article that LIFE magazine described as “a love letter to an old companion”. The piece was entitled “Dear Elephant, Sir”. Almost half a century later I, with great nervousness, have attempted a reply on behalf of the elephant. Romain Gary signed off his letter to the elephant with the words “Your very devoted friend” and then his name.
Dear Devoted Friend,
Should you ever read this letter you may wonder what took me so long to reply. I trust that you did not think that I would forget.
The reason for my letter is of course self-preservation. I, like you, know that our destinies are linked.
Two of the young elephants currently awaiting export in Zimbabwe
Elephants have paced across Africa for more millennia than man. It is their home … but it’s not safe.