The demand of ivory in Asian countries is a permanent threat for the elephants
▶ Spanish video: http://planetdoc.tv/documental-elefantes-de-kenia
An elephant lies dead in the interior of the Amboseli National Park, in southern Kenya.
The park wardens remove its tusks. This is a measure that avoids the illegal traffic in ivory, a trade which, until it was banned in 1989, accounted for 80% of all the tusks sold in the world.
The demand in Asian countries is a permanent threat for the elephants, a demand only held in check by an absolute ban on this trade. Even so, there is an unfinished war in which important battles have been won but the enemy refuses to lower his guard. Countries like Zimbabwe, South Africa, China and South Korea apply pressure to be able to sell their surpluses. But as soon as even a tiny amount is legalised, the poachers will take advantage and invade the market with tusks obtained in illegal killings.
The case of the elephants is the best example of the struggle for survival of the threatened species. They are pacific giants, but their size and their complex social structure have become a tragedy.
In a land of limited resources, herds of elephants confined in restricted areas can cause terrible devastation.
The dry season is a period of want in the savannahs of East Africa. The majority of the herbivores migrate to higher lands in search of pasture, following a cyclical, annual and unalterable route.
For thousands of years, the elephants did the same, following routes that were passed down from generation to generation. But today their migrations takes them out of the parks and their old routes now have new masters who cultivate them and protect them.
The Masai are not at all fond of the elephants. They are a cattle-rearing people who are beginning to cultivate the lands, and the elephants eat the pasture of their cows and destroy their crop fields.
The new generations have forgotten the peaceful coexistence of centuries, the respect their ancestors felt towards these colossuses of the savannah. And those who once shared the pastures have now become irreconcilable enemies.
Today, the elephants are, sadly, an anachronism in a world in which every square metre of land has an owner and where their enormous food requirements have become a threat for farms, cattle and human populations. Their future, like that of so many other species in danger of extinction, now depends on the very same species that took their lands from them, killed their brothers to get their tusks, confined them in tiny strips of land where they are isolated and so lose their genetic vigour. This elephant, wounded by a Masai, came to die in the park. It was perhaps seeking out the only free hectares we have left them, to find its final rest there.