Cartoon Elephants Tell a Heartbreaking Tale of Poaching

A recent video highlights the importance of conservation efforts for the threatened species.
Nov 4, 2015·
TakePart editorial fellow Nicole Mormann covers a variety of topics, including social justice, entertainment, and environment.

Every time an elephant in Africa is poached, it’s not just the tusks that are stripped from it. It’s the animal’s family too, which means baby elephants are often left orphaned in the gruesome aftermath.

With this in mind, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust published an animated video on Wednesday that illustrates the story of a baby elephant and its mother who are torn apart when the mother is killed by poachers. (Full disclosure: Gardeners of Eden was licensed by Pivot, the sister company of and a division of Participant Media.)

It’s heartbreaking to watch but comes with a message of hope for baby elephants rescued by the orphan elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in Kenya.

According to the video, the DSWT has hand-raised more than 190 orphaned elephants in an effort to conserve the species. Once the elephants are ready to return to the wild, they’re reintegrated back into wild herds of Tsavo, where they have the chance to create a whole new family.

Extinction is a real threat facing many of Africa’s elephants—some 100,000 were killed for their ivory from 2010 to 2012—and it’s not just because of poaching. Elephant populations are also at risk of losing their habitats owing to worsening drought conditions, deforestation, and human-caused devastation.

Even with innovative high-tech cameras and statistical mapping methods tracking poachers, more elephants continue to be killed every day. If something isn’t done to reduce poaching rates, some of Africa’s most threatened species, such as elephants and rhinos, could be gone within our lifetime.

As poachers find new ways to keep from getting caught, such as silently killing elephants with cyanide, conservation groups will have to come up with alternative methods to save the threatened species from going extinct.