Recently, Hong Kong authorities culled 28 tons of ivory stockpile. These measures will provide support to the conservationists cause and stymie appetite for animal derived products. It is a high time that we pay regard to the rights of animals. Particularly, when greed for ivory fuels wars and leads to indiscriminate slaughter of wild life. In the face of mounting threats, animals are also reacting against human encroachment. They are increasingly becoming assertive and rebellious.
Human rapacity has obliterated the habitats of many exotic species. Man’s greed to extract resources has ravaged the natural landscape. Nature is a fine machine, with each organism calibrated to perform a specific role. This elaborate web of natural association is being dismantled for petty gains. Benign animals like Dodo have been brutally massacred to satisfy sadistic whims. Moreover, trees have been ravished to satiate the never ending quest for timber. Numerous animals have been effaced by the pillaging of poachers. Yet, human cruelty has not abated, it is venomous and more lethal than Black Mamba’s poison.
Of all the animals, elephants were considered to be most docile. However, animals with a gargantuan mass are at an exceeding risk. Their body to mass ratio makes them a competitor for food and space. As humans invade their niche, the avenues of acquiring nutrition further dwindles. With little energy sources available to them, large animals particularly elephants are vulnerable. This is tragic, as elephants resemble humans in most ways. They have elaborate familial and societal structures, akin to mankind, they also employ sophisticated communication tools, and moreover unlike other mammals they possess a high long term memory.
Humans due to their indiscriminate hunting are effecting the socio – culture relationships that develop in elephant herds. Calves acquire behavioral clues from the matriarch, the kin and the friends. The extensive network among elephants ensures that they are socialized properly. However, due to poaching, hoards have been wiped out, orphaned calves are at a heightened risk to develop post – traumatic disorder and stress. This lack of care also effects the neurological pathways and blocks normal development. The end result is that elephants are getting more assertive, aggressive and ruthless in their vengeance against humans.
Many incidents have been reported, where elephants have raided villages or attack people without any provocation. This has led specialists to believe that elephants are feeling the pinch, they are reacting to man’s perverse influence. The incidents of violent elephants indicate that they are not willing to tolerate the existence of human. One tragic incident quoted in the passage was about the widespread annihilation of elephants for ivory. Hand grenades were lobbed at herds to eradicate entire herds during Tanzania – Uganda war. The word “poaching” is a gross understatement for such heinous actions.
The examples of Misty and Mary further highlight that captive animals are treated brutally. They are enchained, irritated and taken for granted. After scouring their homes, humans are callously impinging upon the privacy and sanctity of their bodies. Elephants do not want to maintain friendly relationship with humans, they want to shun him. Compare this with the ivory bill, another beautiful specie that was hunted to extinction by humans.
However, it was spotted by some ornithologists, indicating that it may have survived human bestiality. Ivory bill is exceedingly shy of humans and refrains from any interaction. So, when noted ornithologist Alexander Wilson, tried to hold a bird in captivity, it stoically resisted his overtures. It refused to eat even and eventually, perished. This persistent hatred for humans defines our relationship with other animals. We have held them with contempt, disregarded their privacy and murdered them for our satisfaction. Animals, no longer want to remain in harmony with humans, they are defying his authority, challenging it. Maybe it’s a final flurry, a last hurrah before they fade into oblivion but they are not going to surrender meekly.
It is apparent that humans have transgressed their natural barriers. Tanner, a scientist explains that ivory bill could not tolerate the advancing of human civilization. It removed itself to far away areas, in order to stay away from the avaricious eyes of humanity. Ironically, the freedom and unrestrained curiosity, two features that have underscored the progress of humanity, has deeply scarred the natural habitat of other animals. Both articles highlight the view, that extreme interference of humans in the natural scheme of things are breaking animals apart. First, we infiltrated into their areas, then we tamed their behavior, we went further down and humiliated them in circuses and other frivolous activities, enchained them and emasculated their ferocious will to live.
We degraded them, pilloried them and turned sacred animals into objects. We could manipulate them, they were nothing more than our despicable fancy. However, in the two articles by Siebert and Rosen there is empathy. Both the writers share their deep seated revulsion of man’s negative effect on environment. Whereas Rosen is more poetic, Siebert adopts a more pragmatic approach. He believes that disgruntled animals, maybe brought into the fold of harmony through intervention. He asserts that by psychological counselling and empathy, the scars of ill – treatment can be cured. Siebert, equates elephants with humans, whereas Rosen takes them to the highest pedestal of a living form of art. Both writers share reverence for life.
Whereas Rosen believes, that there is no redemption. Siebert, a contrarily believes that love, understanding and respect for creatures can atone the sins of our blood drenched past. Humans have the providential ability to reform. The recent events in Hong Kong, France and Africa indicate that finally public consensus has been finally achieved. This will facilitate the protection of other endangered species and provide succor to marginalized animals.