This blog entry is in response to an article from National Geographic that was posted by Carl Safina of The Safina Center in A Voice for Elephants on April 4, 2017. It was co-authored by Erica Cirino. I would suggest reading this article before moving to the thoughts of Tanganyika Wildlife Park’s Director Jim Fouts, and you can do so HERE.
Having worked with elephants since 1974 as one of the original elephant keepers at the Sedgwick County Zoo, and having been surrounded by them in Africa over the course of my work there, part of which included my interest in the recently imported elephants for Dallas, Omaha, and Sedgwick, elephants have always had a special place in my heart. One cannot be around elephants without appreciating their intelligence, dedication to family, and their importance to the preservation of the African ecosystem throughout their range. Elephants face a number of other serious challenges to their survival including poaching, over population in some areas of their range, human over population, and habitat destruction.
We have included this article of interest "Elephant Ivory Ban in China" as it may signal a major shift in Chinese policy regarding elephants and other endangered species. I have witnessed firsthand China’s systematic plunder of Africa's natural resources and wildlife with no regard whatsoever for the resulting negative impact on the environment and wildlife. China is the largest market in the world for ivory products so an ivory ban will certainly bode well for the survival of African elephant populations if, in fact, the ban is real. Recent actions in China seem to demonstrate that the constant pressure from the international community make be the catalyst for genuine change. Let's pray that it is real and not just another hollow gesture to pacify the international community.
-TWP Director, Jim Fouts