Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bull Elephant Kills Hunter

After being stalked for five hours by a professional hunter, a bull elephant in musth turned on the killer and killed him.  Chifuti Safaris' Ian Gibson was killed in Zimbabwe when a bull spotted his pursuers, turned instantly and charged.  Gibson got off one shot before he was trampled to death.  It is a testament to the elephant's essentially peaceful nature that this sort of behavior, provoked by man, does not occur more often.

On another front of the elephant wars, Thai officials seized four tons of ivory in Bangkok.  The 739 tusks, estimated to be worth about $6.2 million were reportedly smuggled from the Democratic of Congo.  The seizure was the last day for Thai citizens to declare their personal ivory holdings or be fined up to 3 million baht for illegal possession.  So far only 150 tons has been declared.  The world-wide illegal trade in ivory is one of the most lucrative on globe behind drugs, humans, oils and counterfeiting.  Most illegal ivory is headed for China where it is used as an investment vehicle coveted as "white gold".

Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) has introduced legislation that would impose US economic sanctions on countries such as Thailand that facilitate ivory and horn trafficking. DeFazio says the illegal trade funds crime syndicates and terrorist groups.  Twenty thousand elephants and 1200 rhinos were killed in 2014 he said while introducing his TUSKER Act (Targeting Use of Sanctions for Killing Elephants and Rhinoceros)  Even if the legislation does not survive the reactionary majority in Congress, he deserves kudos for his elegantly contrived acronym.