June 11, 2019

"I hate elephants. Two simple reasons: They have widowed me, and they have left me without a harvest."

Said Lumba Nderiki, quoted in "I hate elephants’: Behind the backlash against Botswana’s giants" (WaPo).
Nderiki and her husband had been married 65 years before he was killed by an elephant in 2014. Like nearly everyone else in this cluster of villages, it has been years since her fields weren’t trampled and eaten up by what she calls “the giants.” She used to grow more than 100 bags of sorghum in a season. Last harvest, she salvaged three.

Growing resentment toward the animals among farmers here and around Botswana is upending the country’s politics and prompting the reversal of policies that turned tourism into Botswana’s second-biggest earner after diamonds. The furor has also spilled into a larger debate over race in a country where white foreigners and the descendants of colonialists control much of the conservation and tourism sectors while many who live outside the national parks eke out a living on government subsidies....

The country’s president, Mokgweetsi Masisi... said that in his view, the numbers of elephants are now “far more than Botswana’s fragile environment, already stressed by drought and other effects of climate change, can safely accommodate,” leading to a “sharp increase” in conflict between humans and elephants. He believes a limited, permit-based return to hunting can solve the crisis.....

Ephraim Simasiku, 71, spent a whole month stringing metal cans along a wire to create a fence around his farm that, with its glint and clang, might scare off elephants. He spends entire nights patrolling his field, full of the juicy watermelons that elephants love, with a flashlight and drum. Elephants ate 400 out of the 1,000 he planted this season.

"During the night, elephants. During the day, elephants,” he said. “A farmer like me can get no sleep.”

On the night of May 14, when all his other methods failed, Simasiku reached for his last resort: a .375 rifle. The next day, people came to his field from all over the enclave to take home a piece of the meat.

77 comments:

rhhardin said...

There are countless solutions in joke archives, for keeping elephants away.

rehajm said...

The Mopani forest in the northeast of the country looks like drunk and overzealous landscapers pillaged after a hurricane. The ellies chew it all up. 40,000+ of them. It’s a big success story for elephants in a world where there are fewer and fewer of them...

That ‘government subsidy’ whinging is a bit of a misnomer, too. More accurate is the citizens are shareholders in the nation’s diamond mining industry.

White man bad is trending too, so gotta get that in.

My name goes here. said...

"On the night of May 14, when all his other methods failed, Simasiku reached for his last resort: a .375 rifle. "

Of course it was at night. He shot the elephant in his pajamas.

Case closed.

whitney said...

Most white people do not know what's going to hit them in the next couple of decades. It's not going to be fun to be the global scapegoat.

rehajm said...

They missed an opportunity to correlate the dying planet with elephant flatulence.

Fernandistein said...

In Era of Trump's Shithole Countries, elephants hate you!

Laslo Spatula said...

Elephants like these put dingoes eating your baby in perspective.

I am Laslo.

rehajm said...

Two other Bostswanan fears: Snakes. For good reason. A boomslang is nasty. You pretty much drop dead on the spot if you get bit. Also condoms for some unknown reason. The consequences of HIV are widely seen yet still...

Quaestor said...

I call bullshit.

Slow down. We cannot know the entire situation from this abbreviated article written by some who is quite likely to be completely ignorant of the horticulture of watermelons, which BTW are native to equatorial Africa and have been cultivated there since prehistoric times.

It is possible — likely, in fact — that the elephants uproot and devour the entire vine. Having eaten fresh watermelon in Tanzania I know a little about the subject. The fruit I was served bore only a passing resemblance to the watermelons Americans are accustomed to buying or growing in their gardens. East African watermelons are small, no bigger than a cantaloupe, and have a thick rind. The flesh is pale pink, and though sweet, isn't as juicy as the hybrid cultivars we Americans favor.

gilbar said...

elephants seem a lot like grizzly bears;
a terrific thing to have far away
a terrifying thing to have around your home

If you ask the evironmentals, "do we have enough?"
they Always say "not yet"
If you ask them How Many WOULD BE enough, they change the subject and walk away

Birches said...

Let them hunt.

Birches said...

Same thing that's happening with wolves near Yellowstone.

rehajm said...

The president clarified in a recent Facebook post...

I hate Facebook.

Tom T. said...

The problem is that the rest of the world values elephants more than it values a few more poor farmers. In theory it ought to be possible for rich donors to buy out these farmers, and perhaps help them transition to tourist-friendly employment as another commenter described above. Botswana is a well-run country and would be a very good test case to see if such a program can be carried out without drowning in corruption.

Bob Boyd said...

Dumbo Dies In Darkness

Amadeus 48 said...

I love those juicy watermelons, too. Is the farmer sure it was elephants? And did he get them all?

We all know who the target of this propaganda is...another group that WaPo hates...a group that has as its symbol the ELEPHANT! This is a typical WaPo anti-GOP screed. That elephant probably grabbed those juicy watermelons with its trump (sic). Those elephants didn't build those juicy watermelons--what about those government subsidies to the poor farmers?

On the other hand, WaPo is showing tremendous courage writing about juicy watermelons in Botswana. I wouldn't touch that topic with a ten foot pole. Cue the twitterstorm in five...four...three...two...

traditionalguy said...

The GOP is letting elephants run wild . Too damn many elephants.If only their ivory tusks had a free market.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

I hate elephants

pachydermaphobia ?

Nobody said...

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/06/07/glacier-national-park-quietly-removes-its-gone-by-2020-signs/

Not a cult or anything, but we meant the *next* comet!

Bob Boyd said...

Would you rather...

Be raped by a dolphin?

Be trampled by an elephant?

See Trump win re-election in 2020?

Fernandistein said...

The elephant is the Barometer for Mother Earth's Well-Being.

Humperdink said...

Coyotes were re-introduced into PA woods some time ago. Now I see coyotes tracks everywhere in my north 40, especially during deer season. I now have competition. Fortunately, there is no closed season on the coyote.

Mystifying why they were brought back. Maybe we should ask the car insurance companies. I will now hang my tin foil hat back up.

rhhardin said...

Growing peanuts would be worse.

Fernandistein said...

Oops, I meant the Great Barrier Reef, not elephants.

Amadeus 48 said...

"Growing peanuts would be worse."

The horror! The horror!

iowan2 said...

It's impossible for wild animals and agriculture to co-exist. The wild animals need their numbers controlled. Feral pig, wild horses, etc, consume limited resources. Reserves need to be created for the wild animals. Of course, the reserves will displace humans. Now we see the conundrum. Humans vs animals. Animals are far more important than humans. So the Humans starve and the tourists get their thrill. Problem solved.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

art installations from the Cracking Art collective.
The group uses recyclable plastic to craft vivid representations of meerkats, elephants, snails, and other natural creatures for traveling art installations in unexpected locations

rhhardin said...

Siamese elephants come in pairs, variously joined.

iowan2 said...

Farmers overestimate their harvests. That's why nobody aspires to toiling in the dirt for their entire life. Not blacks, not whites, not in Africa, not in Ireland.

Stated with the conviction that can only come from raw ignorance.

Meade said...

"Would you rather...
Be raped by a dolphin?
Be trampled by an elephant?
See Trump win re-election in 2020?"

I think that if Trump's re-election is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.

Quaestor said...

A boomslang is nasty. You pretty much drop dead on the spot if you get bit.

This is inconsistent with the studies I've read. Boomslang (Afrikaans: "branch snake") is the most seriously venomous snake of the Colubridae family (rear-fanged tree snakes which prey mostly on perching birds and nestlings.) and any bite should be treated as potentially fatal. However, human bite victims are unlikely to show any symptoms except local swelling for several hours after the encounter. This insidious nature of boomslang venom is why it is it is so dangerous. after the initial pain and shock subside many victims assume they have escaped the venom, believing that it kills in minutes or seconds. (In Tanzania they are known as ten-steppers, i.e. you have time to take ten steps and then you're dead. Mambas are called seven-steppers.) Since after an hour has passed and the victim is neither dead nor showing symptoms other than anxiety and perhaps a headache, he fails to seek medical attention. This is what accounts for many fatalities because once the real symptoms show up — most obviously hemorrhaging from the mouth and anus — it is often too late for the antivenin to reverse the effects.

SA toxicology page about the boomslang.

Amadeus 48 said...

"Oops, I meant the Great Barrier Reef, not elephants."

I went to that link. Wow.

That is Intersectionality to the MAX! International Women's Day and the Great Barrier Reef and Dangerous Climate Change in one big, feel-bad message.!

If you remove "ter" from intersectionality you get "insectionality"---Insect Politics! It's code!

You have to learn to code.

Bob Boyd said...

I think that if Trump's re-election is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.

Yeah, who knows? You might make a new friend.

iowan2 said...

The problem is that the rest of the world values elephants more than it values a few more poor farmers. In theory it ought to be possible for rich donors to buy out these farmers, and perhaps help them transition to tourist-friendly employment as another commenter described above.

Fuck the people earning a living doing what they know and love. Force them to serve their betters, as God intended.

gilbar said...

Sorry Professor, i went to delete my comment; you'd beat me to it

rehajm said...

Never ate elephant. I'm not that ambitious.

Quaestor said...

Relax and enjoy it.

A lost art, unfortunately.

Fernandistein said...

In the not-so-distant past, Africans had many wise expressions and ideas about elephants and their place in nature, but Africans didn't have any written language so nobody wrote them down.

Seeing Red said...

What? People want to profit from their hard work and don’t like it when it’s taken?

John henry said...

 Nobody said...

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/06/07/glacier-national-park-quietly-removes-its-gone-by-2020-signs/

Not a cult or anything, but we meant the *next* comet!


In Kalispell right now leaving shortly for the park.

Full report tonight.

John Henry

Fernandistein said...

rear-fanged ... snakes

The hog-nosed snake, too, IIRC, which is also in the Fake News today:

Drudge: "Beware the 'zombie snake'; Pretends to be dead..."

->> This ‘zombie snake’ found in NC pretends to be dead. Be careful picking it up.

"Beware of seemingly dead snakes in North Carolina.

There are six venomous species to fear in the state, but it’s one of the nonvenomous “harmless” categories that is unpredictable enough to count as a “zombie snake,” according to a June 6 post by the N.C. Department of Parks and Recreation."

ZOMBIE! BE CAREFUL! BEWARE! WATCH OUT, IT'S HARMLESS!

And those scare quotes on the word "harmless"...

rehajm said...

This is inconsistent with the studies I've read

You need the scary thing, fear of a snake bite, to leverage the silly thing, fear of condoms. Especially since I took license and ignored the comedy rule of threes.

Just stop letting your facts interfere with the snark...

Ralph L said...

Can't she learn to code?

Quaestor said...

Hog-nosed snakes produce a foul-smelling secretion which gives the Don't Eat Me, I'm Dead and Rotten performance considerable verisimilitude. The stink will draw greenbottle flies in less than a minute. If you pick up a hog-nosed snake you'll certainly get that shit on your hands and clothes. The only solution I know is to wash your hands in gasoline and burn your duds.

Paul said...

I can't blame Nderiki for her feelings. Elephants are not 'Walt Disney' stuff. They are very deadly. I guess the answer is a reservation, or preserve, for elephants and all other lands they are banned from being on.

Michael McNeil said...

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/06/07/glacier-national-park-quietly-removes-its-gone-by-2020-signs/

Not a cult or anything, but we meant the *next* comet!”

In Kalispell right now leaving shortly for the park.


Even if the “glaciers” of Glacier National Park were to disappear by (say) 2020, it would be no big deal — because those supposed Glacier Park “glaciers” have subsisted as little more than “oversized snow patches” (as University of Montana geologists David Alt and Donald W. Hyndman put it in their terrific Roadside Geology of Montana) since the end of the ice age (before around 10,000 BC!).

As the authors write: [quoting…]
It should have been called “Glaciated Park.” The mighty glaciers of the ice age are gone, and those that now exist in Glacier Park are puny and shrinking, hardly more than oversized snow patches. This is a poor place to see glaciers in action. But every part of the park bears the marks of enormous ice age glaciers that filled the valleys with groaning and creaking rivers of ice thousands of feet thick.

During peak ice age glaciation, the cover of ice on Glacier Park almost became a continuous ice cap. To visualize the park as it then was, imagine a vast sea of ice with isolated peaks jutting above it as islands of exposed bedrock.

[/unQuote]
____
(David Alt and Donald W. Hyndman, Roadside Geology of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Co., Missoula, MT, 1986, p. 60)

Michael McNeil said...

By the way, Glacier National Park in Montana really epitomizes for me a point made by 19th century naturalist T.H. Huxley (grandfather of Aldous Huxley: of Brave New World fame), who wrote: [quoting…]

To persons uninstructed in natural history, their country or seaside stroll is a walk through a gallery filled with wonderful works of art, nine-tenths of which have their faces turned to the wall.

[/unQuote]

The remedy for this debility, in the case of Glacier Park (and points elsewhere in Montana), is the aforementioned Roadside Geology of Montana.

____
(T. H. Huxley, “On the Educational Value of the Natural History Sciences,” 1854)

rhhardin said...

Thai elephant

1 elephant, quartered
50 lb garlic
50 lb onion
50 lb cumin
50 lb ginger
25 lb red pepper
15 lb cinnamon
100 lb coriander

rhhardin said...

The dead-faking hog nosed snake, if you poke it, will puff itself up and pretend to be a deadly pit viper, and then is surprised that people kill it, says Will Cuppy.

Fen said...

Would you rather...Be raped by a dolphin? Be trampled by an elephant?

The dolphin will cuddle afterwords if you toss him a mackerel.

Fen said...

glacier-national-park-quietly-removes-its-gone-by-2020-signs

What hacks. Trump should order them to leave it up. It's a perfect teaching prop for guides to point out how scientists still have imperfect understandings and methodology, as well as the danger of relying on computer modeling.

gilbar said...

rhhardin said...
Thai elephant
1 elephant, quartered


I'm pretty sure you mean: 1 elephant, cubed
otherwise it'd take a big wok to stirfry in

madAsHell said...

Coyotes were re-introduced

How do you keep them out??

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Where did Chumbawumba the watermelon farmer get a .375?

The comments are hilarious. Manic self-stroking.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

It's a shame Orwell isn't alive. He had some experience in this department.

Not an oldster. said...

I think feral animals roam free, doing what they love. It's the farmers we keep penned in.

Mr. Groovington said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I guess the answer is a reservation, or preserve, for elephants

But that would require a WALL! You racist.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

I love elephants, But that's because I don't have to live with them and I'm not a big fan of the humans.

mikee said...

Cracker ER: It is a fairly common practice for big game hunters to buy a new rifle and ship it to Africa for their once-in-a-lifetime safari, then leave it with a guide or other native as a tip, since taking a hunting rifle home is frequently illegal or problematic. The farmer may have gotten one in this manner.

See the movie Babel, a two hour antigun, anti-tourism, anti-Japanese, anti-life nihilistic downer of a propaganda piece, for an example of this practice.

Alternately, the farmer has a .375 because there are wild elephants, et al., tromping around his farm, and shooting them is sometimes necessary for protection of self, others and property.

n.n said...

Elephants can be Asses. Lions, rhinos, too. Thus the demand for planned husbandry. A humane population control protocol.

ken in tx said...

Coyotes were not re-introduced in Western North Carolina, they just showed up. People try to keep them out of their pastures with donkeys and mules. Donkeys are very aggressive towards coyotes and will stomp them to death if they can catch them.

Humperdink said...

Hump said: "Coyotes were re-introduced..."

madASHell asked: How do you keep them out??"

Short of a bounty on their sweet little heads, nothing.

John henry said...

In the park now at the main visitor center. Standing in front of a sign about the Many Glacier area:

"global climate change scientists predict that under current global warming trends, all of the park's glaciers will be gone by 2030, affecting habitat and survival of plants and animals throughout the park."

John Henry

John henry said...

I had seen the, apparently fake, news stories last week about the sign being remover as no longer valid.

Bullshit on fake news.

John Henry

Carol said...

Hiking in Montana was a lot more fun when I wasn't worried about mountain lions and bears. I don't really worry about wolves but they are wreaking havoc with livestock around here. But I guess they keep the deer population down, so now the aspen grow thick again.

Feh.

Big Mike said...

The problem is that the rest of the world values elephants more than it values a few more poor farmers.

This

wholelottasplainin' said...

The Great Barrier Reef scare is utter bushwa:

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/03/28/blowing-the-whistle-on-the-climate-of-australias-great-barrier-reef/

Rick.T. said...

Blogger rhhardin said...

Thai elephant

1 elephant, quartered
50 lb garlic
50 lb onion
50 lb cumin
50 lb ginger
25 lb red pepper
15 lb cinnamon
100 lb coriander
---------------------------
Plus one Thai bird eye chili. Eat one bite at time.

Michael McNeil said...

John Henry: regarding the present status of Glacier Park's “glaciers,” see up-thread.

Not an oldster. said...

Why is it a problem valuing an animal's life over a poor man? The poor will always be with us...

Steven said...

Coyotes were re-introduced into PA woods some time ago

They weren't "re-introduced", because, first, they used to never be in Pennsylvania, and second, because humans didn't intentionally bring them in. Rather, the coyotes migrated on their own into the eastern US.

Now, that was possible because of two human-induced changes. First, humans wiped out the wolves, removing the competition that kept coyotes from coming east. Second, humans converted forests into farms, replicating the coyote's native plains environment.

But with the eastern half of the US inadvertently transformed into viable coyote habitat, the coyotes on their own spread east during the 20th Century into what used to be wolf territory. While their range went no further than Illinois in 1900, they reached the Indiana-Ohio border by 1920, the Ohio-Pennsylvania border in 1950, Pittsburgh by 1970, and then Philadelphia by 1980. The last bits of the lower 48 that didn't have coyotes in 1990 were added to their range by 2000.

And the coyotes in Pennsylvania and upstate New York? They crossbred with the remnant gray wolf populations; the hybrids are larger and better-adapted to live in the woods than pure coyotes.

Rusty said...

Blogger Humperdink said...
"Hump said: "Coyotes were re-introduced..."

madASHell asked: How do you keep them out??"

Short of a bounty on their sweet little heads, nothing."
Here in Illinois it is legal to kill them any time.Some people skin them for their hides. I don't know if they have any value.

Nobody said...

Probably weren’t any farmers there until the ivory hunters sort of wiped out the huge herds of elephants that were once there.

Tomcc said...

Reading this thread, I've thought of a neologism: Trumpled. The likely outcome for the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020. (Assuming Trump is the R. candidate)

Nobody said...

I read the journal of an ivory hunter from the 19th century. Think of Van Pelt from the original and only decent version of Jumanji. It was a fascinating look at Africa. He had 50 bearers or whatever you call them with him, they were all armed with carbines, but only he had the 4 gauge elephant gun. They cut roads into the jungle and basically he shot everything he saw, rhinos traveled in little families, the pair and a cub or calf or whatever. Only one time they happened on a river full of animals, birds, fish, etc that was so. beautiful, he just couldn’t shoot anything. But they did fish for perch and ate those that day.

I couldn’t finish it because after a while it was just too heartbreaking.

Nancy Reyes said...

Not a new problem: A similar problem hit Zimbabwe in the early 1990s, and Kenya in the 1970s. Read NYTimes article:
https://www.nytimes.com/1992/07/05/world/zimbabwe-kills-starving-elephants-for-food.html
Periodic droughts are normal in this area.