Ben Oostdam story # 344

ELEPHANTS

A mere week after my return on February 18 from a month journey to South Africa,
I was surprised by the following newspaper article:
(only the first few lines shown below:
for complete article, click here)
.

South Africa lifts elephant hunting ban

Article Launched: 02/26/2008 10:53:02 AM EST
York Daily Record
CELEAN JACOBSON

PRETORIA, South Africa -- South Africa said Monday that it
will start killing elephants to reduce their burgeoning numbers,
ending a 13-year ban and possibly setting a precedent for other African nations.
Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said the government
was left with no choice but to reintroduce killing elephants
"as a last option and under very strict conditions"
to reduce environmental degradation and rising conflicts with humans.
There will be no "wholesale slaughter," he told reporters.


Earlier this month, from February 11 through 13,
we visited the Addo Elephant National Park,
where I shot the following photograph:




The history of elephants in the region of the present Addo Elephant
National Park is repetetive. From the 1700's to the early 1900's,
massive hunting took place and the ivory trade boomed.
The increasing number of farmers exerted pressure on the Government
to exterminate elephants, and in 1919 Major P.J. Pretorius was
contracted to shoot those remaining.
From 1919 to 1920 he shot 114 elephants and sold two calves to a circus.
In 1920, the killing was halted and the surviving 16 elephants found
refuge on the land of farmer J.T. Harvey. In 1925 a Forest Reserve was
set aside, which in 1931 was proclaimed as the "Addo Elephant National Park;
it covered about 5,000 hectares and held only 11 elephants.
Subsequently, the elephant population as well as the size of the Park
increased: 22 in 1954, 100 in 1979 and over 450 in 2008 in an area over
164,000 hectares [1 hectare=(100m)2]
The present population of elephants is too large, as is that of Kruger
National Park. That is why the 2008 suspension of the ban was announced.

Personally, I always admired elephants. In the 1950's, I chartered an elephant
for several days in the Thai jungle west of Kanchanaburi,
known for the infamous "Bridge on the River Kwai" and the Burma Death Railroad.
A kind grandfather-owner of a female elephant which had just given birth to a calf
"donated" it to me, and I agreed to let him keep and train the calf till one day
I would return to claim it.
My friend Jan Hempenius and I, once planned to ride an elephant from Bangkok
back home to Holland, but changed that mode of transport to a Vespa scooter
when we learned that it would take another elephant to carry enough food for
the first one etc. ad infinitem, so that we would have had to travel
with a veritable chain gang of pachyderms. For the same reason, I have not (yet)
returned to claim my given elephant.
In conclusion, Jan and I happened to have been the best students in our
respective "Bahasa Indonesia" classes- that's why our Bank directors sent us
to Thailand (presumably so we would become the best in Thai -
which is much harder to learn)
.
So every time in the last few weeks when I heard or read the word "Addo" -
as in the name of the Addo Elephant National Park -
I recalled that "Adoe" was a Pasar Melaju exclamation of the order of "WOW!!"
So in my mind I dredged up the following nonsensical sentence or rather word-combination:

"Maleis": "Ado, Tuan, sekarang tidak lebih pandjang jangan bikin mati ekor gadja!"
Dutch:"Ach Meneer, nu is het niet langer meer verboden om olifanten dood te maken"
English:"Wow, Sir, it is now no longer forbidden to kill elephants!

BLO fecit 20080229b - stories

'Ado' and Maleis/Indonesian-related links: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7