Saturday 7 September 2013

The Last African Elephant

(somewhere in Kenya or Zimbabwe, 2033)

She wanders slowly across the plains,
hunched and tired.
It is years since she last saw
others of her kind.
she pulls grasses from the wayside.

Suddenly she stops.

She flutters her ears,
moves her trunk
from side to side.

She stands still for minutes.

Then, carefully she walks
towards a pile of bones
almost hidden in the grass.

She picks one up, explores it
with the tip of her trunk.

The savannah shimmers
with a herd of elephants,
lowing quietly.

She lifts her eyes towards
the horizon.

The herd comes closer,
her mother, her children.

She drops the bone
and starts to trot.

A gunshot.

A heavy fall.

Blood pools across the dusty ground. 


A world without elephants seems inconceivable, yet if current rates of poaching continue, elephants could be extinct in the wild in 20 years. Some reports suggest that up to 40,000 elephants are being killed for their tusks each year in Africa alone. That is almost five per hour, every hour, every day.

Elephants are one of the foci of Care for the Wild's Stop the Killing Campaign (which also focuses on rhinos and tigers). Read more about:

You can help them in their vital work by: 

Care for the Wild works on animal rescue, defence and protection across the world. In the UK, they are fighting the badger cull and are working towards a close season on the hunting of hares in England as well as working with animal rescue centres across the country to look after sick and injured animals.


Anonymous said...

the poem is wonderful but so sad - humans have a lot to answer for :(

Christina said...

I really hope we never see this come to pass. Elephants are magnificent....just like all the wild creatures.

Little Miss Titch said...

I just don't understand the human race sometimes,xx

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I love this. My favorite post of yours. I saw a picture of dead elephants recently on CNN that were killed for their ivory...I wept :(

aspiritofsimplicity said...

I can't imagine a world without elephants. I can't imagine a world with people who are inhumane enough to make them extinct and yet I live in one.

RG said...

poverty and ignorance ...

By gosh a couple of good old American Cruise missles might just really help to change that ...

Crafty Green Poet said...

Gabrielle - don't we just

Christina, it's looking more and more likely that we are hunting elephants and other species to extinction

speedy - me neither

Optimistic - it's heartbreaking isn't it?

Rabbits Guy - but also organised crime and foreign investment, oh and hold the missiles....

Bill said...

remembered stories
of the elephants' graveyard –
her ivory comb

EG CameraGirl said...

Greed is a terrible thing. Someone at the top of the chin is making tons of money, Sad.

Caroline Gill said...

"All a poet can do today is warn. That is why the true poet must be truthful." Wilfred Owen.

His statement rings so true, and this is what you have done for us here ... so, so poignantly.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Elephants have always fascinated me and there's a sacredness about them, Ganesha is a most eloquent example. And I think that there is a human level in them as far as the cult of the dead is concerned, their exploring the bones is mysterious and fascinating and makes me think that the boundary between an animal and a human can be so very thin, almost to the point of no existence.