If we learn the lesson this time around, the children of the next generation will thank us and be able to cherish what is left of “heaven’s poetry to us,” the life force of this big blue marble in space.
Canned hunting incites trophy hunters, which in turn attracts poachers. Within a few days of Cecil’s killing, five poachers went into Tsavo in Kenya and killed five elephants—news which hardly reverberated in the world’s conscience for what humanity is also doing to the largest land mammal on earth.
They roam the hinterlands of the Namib desert, the world’s oldest, like relics from a fabled country that time forgot. They are the last silent juggernauts on earth and they roam the arid Ana and Mopane forests of this country of 2 million like enormous ghosts.
The reality behind the murder and wanton destruction of a beautiful being called Cecil should activate a new and final wave of response, not just for the animals of the world, but also for our children.
In this solitary outpost of Namibia, a fable still haunts the living sands of a seemingly inexhaustible stretch of time, far from the madding crowd. But outside pressures are gaining on this imponderably perfect beast.
While we have had a half century of theories about the limits to growth and overpopulation, the realities of what is happening to the thermal regulation of the planet is now being played out with the last polar bears of earth. The polar bear is the largest canary in the coalmine of a runaway technological society.
The rainforest of Central Africa needs the elephant to thrive. The savannahs of Africa need the elephant for its fertilizing capacity as well. Humanity is joined at the hip of our greatest ally. We fail the elephant and we jump off the cliff of time. The loss of the elephant and what is happening to this colossal being who walked out of Africa alongside us and who helped us survive for countless millennia, is modern man’s Golgotha.
Yes, Leonardo DiCaprio should be applauded for producing a feature documentary film, “Virunga,” which will win the Academy Award in a few weeks’ time. It is most appropriate that he should win his first Oscar, not as an actor but for a documentary film fighting to salvage an utter and irreplaceable jewel in the biosphere.