One Every 15 Minutes

Have you ever watched a documentary that was so powerful that it made you want to drop out of school and every aspect of life to go help the cause?

If no, then you probably haven’t watched The Ivory Game.

“The Ivory Game? Whats that?!”

the-ivory-game-posterAs you can probably guess from the title, it’s a documentary that is centered around Elephant poaching in Africa which is being driven by  the multi-billion dollar Ivory Trade industry in Asia.

We have this figure called  “Shetani”,  AKA the devil , AKA Boniface Mariango. He’s basically the Hitler of elephants poaching  in Africa, and throughout this film we follow Tanzanian Intelligence on their immense operation to find this guy and stop his incredibly elaborate, and rather professional system of poaching elephants.

Then, we have another story-line that follows an Undercover Chinese Investigative Journalist [Hongziang Huang], who risks his life to expose gangs and ivory trading syndicates. He manages to infiltrate several ivory trading organizations,  and we see it all the action through his body-cam! I’m telling you that the level of tension here is something that will definitely keep you at the edge of your seat.

There are also some pretty intense visual footage that show carcasses of decapitated elephants, and the grief that elephants themselves feel when they loose one of their own. Some of the footage is definitely hard to watch, and I think it is something that will definitely put you on the verge of tears. But it’s imagery like that is a wake-up call for all of us.  On the bright side, there’s some really really really beautiful and serene footage of elephants – and I think it’s  another reminder of the beauty the world would lose if we allow these beautiful animals to go extinct.

There’s so much that goes on in this film, and I promise it will capture your  wholehearted attention and play with all your emotions for the 1 hr and 50 minute span of the film . By the end of it, you will be distressed, angry, you’ll be balancing tears, and maybe left with a desire to punch the entire human race. But most importantly, you will have a proper understanding of what’s really going on and what you can do to help!

It’s a 10/10 from me, and for those of you who haven’t heard of this extraordinary documentary until now, I highly recommend that you take time to watch it because it is definitely something that is worth your time.

 6 things you need to know about Elephants: 

  1. Poaching is pushing the African Elephant to extinction 😦 You would  think that Ivory Traders poach elephants because they are greedy, evil and rapacious. WRONG. Traders want to see elephants extinct because the elephants = more money. In other words, if there were only a handful of African Elly’s left, the price of ivory would sky-rocket. That my friends, is pretty distressing. The fact that there are people in this world that desire for the end of an entire species purely so that they can make more money is absolutely despicable and inhumane to say the least.

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2.  Elephants are very intelligent, any by now, many of them know that their tusks make them a walking target. This means that in close proximity of humans, many of them hide and try to conceal their tusks because they know that they could die because of them. Heartbreaking.

Line of African elephants (Loxodonta africana), Samburu National Reserve, Kenya, East Africa, Africa
A herd of Elephants at Samburu National Reserve, Kenya.

3.  Elephants have the longest pregnancy of all mammals on earth! 22 whole months! –

At birth, elephants already weigh some 200 pounds (91 kilograms) and stand about 3 feet (1 meter) tall! 

Sadly, a couple of studies suggest that the African Elephant has reached it’s tipping point – which is really worrying because it means that poachers are now killing elephants for their ivory faster than they are being born 😦

mama ndovu.jpg

4. Elephants eat A LOT! An adult elephant can consume up to 136 kilograms worth of food in ONE day! They eat everything from roots and barks, to grass and fruits. These giants are estimated to walk about 30 – 60 km a day, and they don’t sleep much either because they are always roaming around looking for the large amounts of food that they need to sustain their 5,000kg bodies!


5. Elephants are led by matriarchs (#feminism)

Almost every elephant family is led by a matriarch – who uses her experience, knowledge and wisdom to guide and protect the rest of the herd. Matriarchs know it all. They know where to lead the herd if there is a drought. Their incredible memory makes them able to recall dangerous areas and steer the rest of the herd from trouble.  They have the ability to connect, and build relations with other families. Matriarchs are the core of an elephant family Matriarchs shape the daily lives of family members, and by doing so affect their general health, body condition, reproductive success and survival. They are the core of the family.  Where are the males? You may ask…. well they tend to leave the herd after puberty and live in isolation

The sad thing is that matriarchs have huge big tusks – which sadly puts them under significant threat to poaching. Today,  1 in 5 elephant herds live without their matriarch – leaving them vulnerable and without guidance 😦

Photo Credits : Mitchell Krog

5. Elephants are pretty strong and intelligent animals. When faced with danger, they can protect themselves 99.9% of the time. However, it becomes a thousand times harder for them to protect themselves when weapons are involved – and this is why poachers are winning 😦

On the good side, conservationists and rangers at national parks have a canine unit that is thoroughly trained and can sniff out rifles, and weapons from a distance. The dogs patrol with the rangers, and luckily, there have been several poaching gangs that have been caught as a result of this (yaaayy).

Everything that conservationists and rangers do is aimed at helping those elephants fight back.  They risk their loves, and put themselves in dangerous and compromising positions to protect the elephants and help them fight back. I know for a fact that they do an incredible job, and along with intelligence, they have managed to catch and arrest several poachers. However, they can’t fight this battle alone and this is why we all need to come together and help. 

This post has gotten a bit long, so in the following post I will go into ways you can help save these beautiful creatures 🙂 I really hope those of you reading this will actually do something, even if its the smallest thing 🙂


2 thoughts on “One Every 15 Minutes

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