Thursday, October 24, 2013

Desert Elephants

Desert Elephants
by Helen Cowcher

Tuareg nomads have a saying: "We live with the elephants, and the elephants live with us."

The nomadic camel herders of Berber origin, Tuareg; the cliff-dwelling Dogon; and the cattle-herding Fulani; they all share the land in Mali, West Africa, with the last of the desert elephants in the world.

Each year, these elephants follow a 300-mile circular path in search of water, the longest migration route of any elephant in the world. With the wise matriarch in the lead, this herd of elephants pass through the Elephants' Doorway in the cliffs on their way to find water.

Through vigilant efforts and close radio contact, the people of the region have come to aid the elephants in their harrowing journey. On their way, the elephants stop at a small lake among the trees for the meager water that the Tuareg people of the region share with these mighty giants. The people care for them deeply [ and love to]

"... listen to the elephants' conversations in the gentle darkness beneath the stars."

The author shows how, working together, the people of the region help preserve the delicate balance of life in the region and protect these magnificent desert elephants.

Author's Note at the back provides further information starting with Who are the Desert Elephants? and Why is the local desert radio important? to How can elephants sense rain falling a long way off?

[image source: macmillan]


sandhya said...

The more I read about people and places, the more I wonder about the superiority of 'civilizations'. We have come such a long way away from the peoples who live in close harmony with their land, who can 'read' the signs the surroundings send out.

Sounds like an interesting book, Sheela.

sathish said...

Interesting book Sheela - I was not even aware that there elephants in the Saharan desert..

sathish said...

Sheela, I took me some time to remember - one of the bands I used to like called Tinariwen are a band made of Tauregs(based in Mali)!. I am going back to listen to them now.. Thanks for reminding me of them.

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