22 April 2013
SHIRLEY AND JENNY
In 1996, Shirley and Jenny, two former circus elephants who hadn't seen each other in 22 years were reunited at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. They recognized each other immediately, and their deep attachment is captured in this video of the reunion. Tissue alert ~ tears may ensue.
The PBS show Nature published an update on Shirley and Jenny's lives. Tissue alert ~ tears may ensue.
On this Earth Day 2013, it is good that we examine the large-scale issues facing humans and the environment, which happen to include stories like this one, in which responsible people take it upon themselves to provide a refuge for the innocent victims of human exploitation. Today, zoos and nature preserves are steadily becoming not merely places of entertainment, but centers for conservation research, the preservation of endangered species' gene pools, and sanctuaries for the plants and wildlife which live there.
In Africa today, elephants are being murdered at an alarming rate by poachers in search of the valuable ivory in their tusks ~ ivory which often ends up in Asia. Some national parks employ armed rangers who patrol against poaching, putting their own lives at risk to defend the resident wildlife. All of Africa is being transformed, as humans encroach upon the wilderness that remains, threatening the homes and the lives of all the continent's magnificent wildlife. As with most of humanity's woes, our own runaway overpopulation lies at the root of the conflict.
Can you imagine a world with 700 million humans, rather than the current 7 billion? A world in which people could thrive and still coexist with, even treasure, wilderness and wildlife? Everyone needs a dream. That is mine.