In the Cincinnati area these past two days of rain have been miserable for us humans, but if we were elephants, we'd be having a blast.
There are many reasons pachyderms enjoy rain, not just because a good cool shower feels good, but because mud combines two things elephants love best: water and dirt!
During the Halloween season, it's fun to discover what scares you, which is perhaps why haunted houses make so much money. This got me wondering, if elephants had a haunted house, what would it be filled with? I mean, there can't be much that makes the largest land mammal startle or run away, but what might those things be?
Through various research I've found a short list of things that do and don't scare elephants. Be careful, some of them may scare you too!
While we often focus on the elephant side of poaching, they aren't the only ones being terrorized. Poaching has a very strong human element to it as well, one that is perhaps even more heartbreaking than what happens to elephants.
Last week four men were killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Garamba National Park. They were part of a 10-men force working to track down the collar of a poached elephant. While tracking the collar, the men walked right into a poaching camp, where poachers opened fire, starting an exchange of gunfire between the two parties.
The Elephant Managers Association held its 2015 conference in Nashville on Oct. 11-14, and I was lucky enough to attend for a day. My sister and I traveled down Monday for the first day of seminars and discussions, to hear about the current elephant scene in the U.S. Monday morning dawned sunny and bright, and as we pulled into the parking lot, my sister and I counted at least five elephant car stickers, giving a quick tease of the enthusiasm that waited inside.
Elephants were not only the theme of discussion but also of fashion that day. Scarves, earrings, jackets, sweaters; you name it, it was there. My sister and I both wore elephant necklaces and sported the free bags with the conference symbol on them, an elephant-guitar mesh.
Here is a working timeline of legislation, protestations and events in the U.S. that have brought attention or limitations to the international trade's reach in America. Check out our progress and see how far we have to go.
Last week I had the opportunity to meet with the CEO of Edu-Entertain Inc., Irvin Laibson, to discuss the fossil ivory products his company sells. Edu-Entertain is a fine arts retailer in Cincinnati that sells many Asian products made from copper, bronze, jade, cinnabar (a bright red mineral) and fossil ivory.
For the interests of my project I reached out to Laibson to learn about the mammoth ivory business and how it relates to the international elephant ivory trade. Here is what I learned:
According to Laibson, all the products sold by Edu-Entertain are made from fossil ivory that is dug up from the permafrost in Siberia and Alaska. Laibson says the ivory comes from fossils of mammoths and mastodons that died thousands of years ago and were buried in glaciers. He says that when the glaciers move, the tusks become accessible.
Kerry Skiff is a conservation advocate and recent journalism graduate of Northern Kentucky University. She follows the ivory trade around the world, and uses her voice to educate Americans about their role in animal conservation.