The word “wildlife” conjures images of beings (life) that are aggressive (wild) when provoked or otherwise.
It must therefore, mean that wildlife carries out actions largely based on instinct and emotions and are therefore incapable of basing their actions on carefully thought-out and executed plan.
In part it is our fault. We tend to portray them in the media (newspapers, the internet and, TV) showing highlights of their wild streaks due in part to the audience appeal such news creates (google turned up 372,000 video postings of ‘enraged elephants’).
So, is the reverse true? That wildlife is capable of executing a well-thought plan? Well, here you are about to see in nature, ideas that is flipped on its head. It has been altered so profoundly that up is down, left is right, and a person’s expectations have been completely overwhelmed.
Some facts first.
Population. At the turn of the 20th century, there were a few million African elephants and about 100,000 Asian elephants. Today, there are an estimated 450,000 – 700,000 African elephants and between 35,000 – 40,000 wild Asian elephants.
Most captives are endangered Asian elephants; African bush elephants and African forest elephants are less amenable to training (quite possibly testament to a historical hostile relationship between man and elephants). Animal rights organizations estimate there are 15,000 to 20,000 elephants in captivity worldwide.
That brings the total number of elephants today to about 500,000. Half a million.
What kinds of data in your view are needed to affirm
if the above causal structure exists?
This would be classic Law #8 of dynamic complexities. Controversial but very simple. Small changes can produce big results. But the areas of highest leverage are often the least obvious. What is an obvious solution, is not the of the highest leverage. It will only come at a huge price to us.
The leverage solution, on the other hands, may not mean as great news as yet for you as the citizens but you would soon realize that the power to change the course of this story, poignant as it would be, lies also in your own hands. But the key point is, that this is not as helpless out-of control situation as you may think.
Think of how you may react within the systemic structure, so that you may control the outcome that you desire and yet, funnily enough, would not cost the system and can be set into action, right away.
Now, that is what is called real empowerment.
SHORT EXPLANATORY NOTES:
How do they lose populations?
- Elephants or wildlife in general risk losing its populations in various ways. In more ways, than we imagine: It may be as a result of:
- it being inflicted by diseases,
- natural calamities or those made by man (such as floods, fires and so on),
- poaching or hunting,
- culling or,
- simply as a consequence of lost access to habitat, food and shelter from humans encroaching their traditional habitats.
- Just because the elephants had moved away from a land (often in search of water and food), it often would not mean they have given up their homes. They do return. Remember, elephants have fantastic memories.
The impact of increased levels of death on the elephant population are as follows:
- When mammals become increasingly sexually active they produce female offsprings. Nature reads heightened sexual activity as the species needs to replace for lost populations and so it does this by producing females to make the correction possible in as short a time as possible.
What happens with increased sexual activity?
- Female parents do not determine the gender of their offspring since they only produce carriers (eggs) with the X chromosomes. They, however, determine the time-ness (or frequency) of the conception of the offspring.
- The gender of the offspring is determined by the extent the male parent produces sperms with both the X and the Y chromosomes.
- When, however, the male becomes sexually active, he produces at first ‘Y’ chromosomes, and then increasingly produces more carriers (sperms) with the ‘X’ chromosomes.
- When the two genders reacts this way, nature is designed to take in the information that an increased level of sexual activity is a signal that the population has a need to replace itself.
What do you think would be the impact of increased levels of elephant population on human activities?
- Unfortunately, when human communities are unable to ‘learn’ ‘from the elephants’ that this may be happening so for them, and so, if their response to increased population numbers is to cull or hunt them down, what do you think would happen next in the war of conflicts that exists between humans and elephants?
- Will, in your view, hunting and culling them effectively reduce the conflict over time, between the two?
- There is more to interfering with the population of other life forms in protecting it for commercial (tourism or adversely for their ivory) reasons than meets the eye.
SO WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
What should we start doing? Stop doing? Continue doing?
A STORY OF INTEREST:
In one instance, when I was in the middle of sharing the ideas of the above systemic structure to a group of persons, the reaction by one person in the group was, are elephants really that smart? Would they actually consider increasing their sexual activities to compensate for losses in their population? Of course, I can understand that reaction.
How far do you agree to this idea of thought? Why does that happen?
For more of the full story: Be calm. Love an elephant. The gentle giants.