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Elephants

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MatC
156074.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:14 am Reply with quote

I think the point about the Mariachi band is that it is very loud, visually impressive, large and difficult to conceal. If you add an elephant to it, youíve really got something quite noticeable going on. (So, link to Emigration).

To be fair, the elephants being smuggled (elsewhere, I mean) are small ones. But it seems their destinations are all over the world: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2007/03/05/national/national_30028502.php

 
Flash
156081.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:31 am Reply with quote

On the subject of the elephant microchips, Professor Fritz Vollrath (with whom we are in touch - he's in the Dept of Zoology at Oxford) says that wild African elephants have satnav and mobile phones, which they carry around their necks on collars:

Quote:
Fortunately ... many new research tools have emerged. Among those of particular interest are tracking devices that, like 'SatNav' systems in modern cars, use data exchange with satellites to pinpoint positions on the ground. ... (these) allow us to track animals with great accuracy, both in time and space, and over huge areas. Even better, the tags also work as mobile phones that can send and receive text massages, thus enabling scientists to 'talk' to one another nearby in the field station or far-off in the university laboratory ...

s: Oxford Today, Hilary 2007

I'm not clear as to why the scientists have to borrow the elephants' mobile phones rather than use their own - I'll send the Prof an e-mail to ask. I like the Dr Who idea of tracking them through both time and space, though.

 
MatC
156085.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:35 am Reply with quote

Yes, indeed; and I like "Why do elephants have mobile phones" with the obvious forfeit on trunk calls ...

 
MatC
156086.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:36 am Reply with quote

<<<The red tape doesn't deter people from buying elephants - it just forces people to forge the permits," Singh shrugged. Others, he said, who managed to get one permit, kept as many as a dozen elephants on it: "After all, it's not easy to tell one elephant from another, and if they're not kept together, who can possibly keep track!"
My mind was boggling at the sheer ease with which something as large and temperamental as an elephant could be hidden so easily from the authorities. "But surely someone would spot the stolen elephants en route from Assam to Rajasthan," I protested, "isn't there checking at the state borders?" "Which world do you live in madam?" Singh countered, "there are ways of getting through all the checkposts, past every possible barrier." So, of course, I wanted to know exactly how the poachers and black marketers did it.
"After the poachers steal the elephants - and mind you, I've heard they usually take young calves which are easier to tame - they arrange with transporters to ferry them across the country in trucks," Singh explained, adding quickly that being only a mahout and not an elephant buyer, this information was only on hearsay.
"The truck takes about eight days, sometimes a day more, to reach Jaipur from Assam," he said, "that's the standard time taken for cargo to be transported across that much distance."
But we were talking elephants here, I protested, creatures not generally known for their docility, especially when they were being kidnapped. How did they handle being cooped up in a smelly bumpy vehicle for such a long time, I asked.
"All I know is that they reach the market in passable health," said Singh, "the elephants represent a lot of money, so obviously they are well taken care of!" I wondered whether the animals needed to be manacled: "How else would they ensure they didn't peep out at an inter-state barrier?" I asked.
The mahout shrugged, obviously not interested by my interest in the logistics of it all. "They probably starve the elephants a little, I guess, which makes them lethargic and docile. And give a hefty shot of sedative if that fails!" he said. >>>
- http://www.rediff.com/money/2006/dec/16spec5.htm

So it really does seem to be as simple as that; as well as the paper-trail fiddles, there are smugglers who actually, physically, sneak their elephants across the border, and just hope they donít get seen. Perhaps they train them to tiptoe.

 
MatC
156090.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:43 am Reply with quote

<<A killer elephant nick-named "Osama bin Laden" by Indian villagers because of a two-year reign of terror in which 27 people were killed, has been shot dead at a tea plantation, according to government officials.
The bull, who was nine feet tall, destroyed hundreds of homes in the north-eastern state of Assam before he was reported to have been shot on Saturday. Up to 14 people were killed by the tuskless animal in the past month alone. The latest victim, a woman, died on Wednesday.
But it now appears that the elephant that was shot may not be Osama.
Last week the state assembly adopted a shoot-to-kill directive for forestry officials, with a deadline set for 31 December. A forestry official said the elephant had been shot on the outskirts of Behali town, some 90 miles north-west of Guwahati, Assam's main city. He said villagers had identified the animal as Osama because it had no tusks.
Previous efforts to hunt it were thwarted when the elephant, which is believed to be aged between 45 and 50 years old, evaded hunters by hiding in dense forests and tea estates>>
- http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article2083834.ece

Another elephant hiding! Are they semi-visible, these inconspicuous creatures?

 
Gray
156096.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:51 am Reply with quote

African ones, at least, are superlatively well camouflaged against the wiry, grey trees of the bush. I've driven within about 10 feet of one and not seen it until it moved.

Amusing photoshopped ones here - especially the 'giraphant'.

 
MatC
156103.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:04 am Reply with quote

Thatís fascinating, Gray; so, after the panellists have laughed at the idea of smuggling such a huge contraband, the chairman assures them that, in fact, itís very easy to miss an elephant even when itís standing next to you ... perfect!

 
Gray
156104.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:11 am Reply with quote

There are six elephants in this picture:

http://www.cedgray.com/tmp/elephants.png

It's the mix of sharp, angular light and shade cast by their wrinkles and the surrounding brush that conceals them so well.

 
Flash
156123.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:01 am Reply with quote

Did you take that photo, Chris? If so, we should definitely use it in the way Mat suggests.

There's so much on elephants - I can see what's going to happen: we're going to try to do a whole show on them and then regret it. Somebody remind me.

 
Gray
156132.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:24 am Reply with quote

Yes, it's my photo, and I have no problem with it being used on the show. I'm sure there are far better ones around illustrating the point, though. I'll have a search.

Or they can send me out there to get a better one...

 
Flash
156151.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:05 am Reply with quote

I doubt there are better ones. If you crop out the anmal on the right it looks perfick to me.

 
Gray
156163.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:32 am Reply with quote

Picture researchers.

I have a hi-res version of this for broadcast/projection, so when/if it comes to the time, I'll send it over and you can crop it, etc...

 
MatC
156196.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:57 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Did you take that photo, Chris? If so, we should definitely use it in the way Mat suggests.

There's so much on elephants - I can see what's going to happen: we're going to try to do a whole show on them and then regret it. Somebody remind me.


Two whole shows, you mean: one on visible elephants, and one on invisible (the two main species of elephant, I expect.)

 
MatC
156199.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 12:00 pm Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
There are six elephants in this picture:

http://www.cedgray.com/tmp/elephants.png

It's the mix of sharp, angular light and shade cast by their wrinkles and the surrounding brush that conceals them so well.


Great pic. I particularly like the giraffe in the foreground which I daresay not everyone can see.

 
Flash
156324.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:00 pm Reply with quote

Mitch spotted this:
Quote:

Four wild elephants drunk on rice beer have been electrocuted in the north-east Indian state of Meghalaya, wildlife officials report.


Full story at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3423881.stm

 

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