Writer, Photographer
Chris-Davies-Zimbabwe-Hwange-Elephants-cover.jpg

Elephants

Africa's giants.

 Elephants are magnificent, but are far from universally loved.  

Elephants are magnificent, but are far from universally loved.
 

 Popular with tourists and rightly the focus of our best conservation efforts, elephants are nevertheless hated and feared by many of the communities that share their dwindling range.  

Popular with tourists and rightly the focus of our best conservation efforts, elephants are nevertheless hated and feared by many of the communities that share their dwindling range.
 

 An adult elephant will drink up to 200 litres of water a day...  

An adult elephant will drink up to 200 litres of water a day...
 

 ...and will travel hundreds of kilometres in search of food and drink.  

...and will travel hundreds of kilometres in search of food and drink.
 

 As their habitat decreases, that water, and food, is harder to find, and local farmers can see entire crops vanish overnight to a passing herd.  

As their habitat decreases, that water, and food, is harder to find, and local farmers can see entire crops vanish overnight to a passing herd.
 

 Human-elephant conflict is a serious, and perhaps intractable, problem.  

Human-elephant conflict is a serious, and perhaps intractable, problem.
 

 Elephants will roam - they need to, in order to give local flora time to regrow - and as humans multiply, that space to range decreases daily.   

Elephants will roam - they need to, in order to give local flora time to regrow - and as humans multiply, that space to range decreases daily. 
 

 150 years ago many millions of elephants found space enough in Africa to live.  

150 years ago many millions of elephants found space enough in Africa to live.
 

 Today, fewer than half a million struggle to survive.   

Today, fewer than half a million struggle to survive. 
 

 That number is shrinking, not growing.   

That number is shrinking, not growing. 
 

 Estimates vary, but between 20000 and 35000 African elephants are killed for ivory or through human-wildlife conflict every year.  

Estimates vary, but between 20000 and 35000 African elephants are killed for ivory or through human-wildlife conflict every year.
 

 Whatever the actual number, it’s more than the number being born.  

Whatever the actual number, it’s more than the number being born.
 

 There is no easy solution and certainly no consensus, but it is clear to me that we should not be killing any animal for any commodity, especially one we can now so easily live without.  

There is no easy solution and certainly no consensus, but it is clear to me that we should not be killing any animal for any commodity, especially one we can now so easily live without.