Serenely going about my cooking business last night when husband piped up to alert me about the latest travesty. “Get this, they plan to lift the ban on importing elephant ‘trophies,’ ” he said. I confess that I prayed for a good solid minute that elephants in Africa had joined a bowling league, that people in the U.S. wanted their bowling awards. Not even in my most desperate embrace of denial could I convince myself it was true.
“Trophy hunters will be able to bring in elephant ears, tails. . . ” Fingers plugging my ears, I flung myself out of the kitchen door, wailing, before I could hear any more. Sobbing, I flung myself to the ground and pounded earth.
ELEPHANTS! FFS. Our intelligent, compassionate Earthkindreds who live in close-knit communities and mourn their dead. Already hunted to near-extinction, this kind of hunting for the trophy tempts me sorely to fling open the liquor cabinet. Surely this grief will be the one that does me in.
Spying the shovel I’d abandoned in a failed planting effort, I grab it and start stabbing the ground. This bare patch of earth is hard as a rock, and I have many plants I want to put in before The Rain (oh, please, oh, please) comes back. Use this rage to turn the whole Hoover dam thing over. May SOME good come of it.
Not that I’m against hunting. Growing up in the Midwest, I’ve known and admired many an honorable hunter. Culling deer and other animals whose natural predators we’ve eliminated seems a compassionate choice. So many will die of starvation otherwise. Summoning the will and the skill to take down the animal to feed one’s family is something I respect.
But trophy hunting a species into extinction is no effing honor in my book. It’s as heinous as . . .well, I’m not going to go there because I’m already so mad I fear for my personal well-being. Suffice to say that killing any creature to brag about its slaughter rips the lid I’d tightly sealed on my vat of eco-horror. Why, oh, why cannot we agree to share this beautiful planet?
Shoveling like the mad woman that I surely am burnt up the heat of my rage. I started thinking about the posts I’d seen of groups working to save the elephants. “Entrust and thank” those who do the work that I cannot. I tossed the shovel and went inside to sit down at this laptop. Found the Elephant Project, a nonprofit with a unique program funding elephant sanctuaries and conservation programs. I dab dewy tears of hope, as I fill out the form to make an online contribution. It’s not the kind of “contribution” I’d really like to be making right now, but it’s the only legal one that comes to mind.
Bless the beasts and the children.
And all who work to give them a voice.