Our animals are Worth More Alive

The majestic African beauty can be seen from a distance. They don’t have the time and reason to disrupt our daily livelihood. They are busy in the thickets and up the hill looking for lunch or breakfast. They seem happy because they have freedom and power to do what they love. So, why should we disrupt their daily routine? Why should we leave the majestic animal for dead in the middle of an endless desert? Even worse, poachers punish them by cutting off their tusks leaving the ooze cover the field red.


The question is; why? Are they worth more alive or dead? I believe a piano key or a ring made from ivory can never replace a life and beauty those majestic animals portray. I love them, we love them as a country and they are part of our heritage as Kenyans and Africans at large.


What if these animals could talk? I think the Giraffe will have many stories to tell because they see very far; probably the future. Nobody understands their language but their beauty is a shout that should make us stand with them.


Animals across the world vary and that’s why all species must be protected to prevent their extinction. For example; an African elephant can be differentiated from the Asian elephants because, all African elephants, male and female, have tusks whereas only some Asian males have tusks. About 50% of Asian females have short tusks known as tushes – which have no pulp inside. Now, that means Africans are blessed because our elephants have amazing tusks.


Point to note: One third of elephant tusk is hidden; they are embedded deep in the elephant’s head. This part of the tusk is a pulp cavity made up of tissue, blood and nerves. The visible, ivory part of the tusk is made of dentine with an outer layer of enamel. Elephant ivory is unique which when viewed in cross-sections reveals criss-cross lines that form a series of diamond shapes. Elephant’s tusks never stop growing so some old bulls display enormous examples. However, the average size of tusks has decreased over the past hundred years because hunting elephants for their ivory has resulted in the ‘huge tusk gene’ becoming increasingly rare.


According to data released on UN world wildlife day; about 60% of elephant deaths are at the hands of poachers, meaning the overall population is most likely to be falling.


Ideally, elephants depend on their tusks to carry out their daily activities. They can be compared to a man’s hand because the tusks are formidable weapons against potential predators like the lion or in battle against other elephants. In addition, they are used to aid foraging, digging, stripping bark and moving things out of the way; trained logging elephants are capable of lifting large logs with their tusks. There is also a display element to tusks and they can attract the interest of females. Amazing right?


Just like the elephant, rhinos need protection. The huge and short animals are one of the best. They are always chewing something on the ground; one might think that they are harmless, but they can give you a chase if pissed off.


There used to be 200,000 of the myopic beasts here in Kenya. That number collapsed to around 200 in the mid-80s, but with the establishment of sanctuaries, the population has recovered to around 600.


As a country, we need to protect our own because they are worth more alive.


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