Dear friends of ElephantVoices,
In these troubled times we hope you and yours are well!
We left Kenya a week ago after a very productive time in an unusually green and lush Amboseli National Park, where we were documenting elephant reproductive behavior for our initiative, The Elephant Ethogram: A Library of African Elephant Behavior. The increasingly disturbing news about Covid-19 in other parts of the world dominated conversations before we departed. Official figures from Kenya a week ago seemed to indicate a situation under control, though today the number of cases jumped to 25. All we can do now is hope that environmental or other factors dampen Covid-19’s potentially devastating impact on Africa.
With Kenya’s parks and reserves emptied of people - what are elephants and other animals thinking? Are they happier without diesel fumes spewing from safari vehicles and a variety of other scents emanating from those moving around inside them? Are elephants wondering why the human chatter and the low frequency noise from cars, planes and generators, have gone quiet? We believe they are. While they may enjoy the peace the departure of tourists brings, without tourism revenue the livelihoods of those protecting wildlife - rangers, scouts and the local communities - are at risk. We can only hope that worst case scenarios are not realized and that the world situation is back to normal soon.
Or - should the world aim to go back to normal? Is that really what our planet needs? Will the Covid-19 pandemic teach humanity anything about our life-threatening impact on the planet? Considering that the Corona outbreak was caused by the illegal and cruel capture and consumption of wild animals, we certainly need to wake up and make changes to the way we live and consume.
There is a lot to reflect on during the difficult weeks and months ahead.
Please take care, and stay well.
Warm wishes, Joyce and Petter