On the morning of the 28th of May 2016, the staff at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge in Zimbabwe were surprised to discover that a bull elephant had arrived outside one of the staff houses with a severe limp. Upon closer inspection, it was suspected that he had been the victim of a failed poaching attempt. He had two bullet holes through his left ear and a septic wound on his left shoulder. Estimated to be at least 30 years old, the bull had made his way up the steep escarpment to the lodge during the night despite the painful-looking wound on his shoulder. He was clearly quite dehydrated as he readily drank the three buckets of water that Official Elephant Autism Be Brave Be Awesome Shirt we gave to him and had not moved away from the house for nearly five hours. Perhaps the elephant knew that we could help.
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Me too. Let’s resolve to be better. The humans who did those things either didn’t know any better or didn’t care. We can know better. We can care. This is a species that, even if it doesn’t have the same internal monologue as us, clearly shares an astonishing degree of self-awareness and critical thinking. Let’s promote a society where we can empathize with and care for animals like elephants, apes, and marine mammals who have a high enough level of cognitive functioning to experience emotions like sadness, happiness, curiosity, and empathy. We can’t Official Elephant Autism Be Brave Be Awesome Shirt take away what our ancestors did, but we can learn from it and choose to be better. Do they need drivers licenses? No. But they do deserve for us to give a shit what happens to them.
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Yup, you also have to remember that a lot of illegal ivory is disguised and sold as pre-1990 or 1975 “antique” ivory to get around the bans, possibly with the cooperation of corrupt customs or local officials. That makes enforcement trickier unless they’re actually caught poaching. There have actually been many economic papers written about various strategies such as using confiscated stockpiles of ivory (which in many countries just get burnt) to flood the supply and reduce prices, but there is some debate about how much easier it would become to pass off Official Elephant Autism Be Brave Be Awesome Shirt illegal ivory as “confiscated ivory being resold by the government” if that’s done.
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