“agony and ivory” in the August Vanity Fair and up on VanityFair.com. I was flooded with emails and facebooks that made me realize how many people love elephants and want them to remain with us and are horrified at the new wave of slaughter, about 100 elephants a day in Africa, driven by the appetite for ivory objets of China’s bao fa hu, the new “suddenly wealthy” middle class that has arisen with China’s adoptiion of capitalism. To mass signature campaigns appeared on change.org which I urge everybody to sign. I was interviewed by “Living on Earth,” the show that appears on 300 NPR stations around the country; by “Sound off with Sasha,” an NPR show that airs in south Florida; and by French CBC. The Pittsburgh Post called the piece “a masterful piece of journalism.”
The most important audience, of course, are the Chinese. The piece was sent to China’s representative to CITED who said he sent it to 100 officials in China. It has been translated into Chinese and is being given to Chinese workers headed for Africa to work on projects partnering with the Indianapolis-based Heritage Group, and to the 350,000 members of the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association, and to 55 board members of the Chinese Nature Conservancy, each of whom had to give a million dollars to get on the board, who are going to see the elephants at Lewa and Samburu, Kenya, which are being hammered by Somalian poachers. So maybe the piece will help curtail the consumption of ivory in China. But it is going to be a long, tough struggle. Even if the Chinese ivory market were to collapse, and it is booming, as the China Daily story posted here reports, poor desperate Africans in the elephants’ 37 range states are going to continue to kill elephants. It’s like trying to stop the drug trade, with which it is closely associated. So let’s keep the pressure on and make the most of this attention that has been brought to the plight of the elephants.
Cory Skilling, DVW’s brilliant techie intern (see her beautiful design work on Dispatch #61), has had to move on for personal reasons that we wish her all the best with, and Brook Thorpe, a 27-year-old Kiwi, has come on board as our first business manager. He is overseeing the creation of VanishingWorldPress, which will offer physical and kindle and Ipac downloadable digital books. Stay tuned. The first offering will be Postcards From Florida, a new edition of my l974 first book, Florida Ramble.
I am going on another epic reporting safari for a spinoff of the elephant piece that will end in Borneo in early September. But I will try to blog while on the road. I’m nearly finished composing a Song for the Elephants which I’ll be recording when I get back.