Anyone with even an inkling of compassion would mourn the suffering and the loss of this innocent life. The mourning is doubled by the knowledge that more and more often it is becoming obvious that humans are losing their humanity. There is no regard for life, there is no regard for suffering. Humanity has been lost to greed and callous indifference. I choose not to use ignorance because even one who is ignorant understands that a living being has the capacity to suffer. Ignorance does not nullify the ability to feel compassion. This cruelty , this callous indifference to life is not ignorance it is EVIL.
The terrible fate of Raja the baby elephant, chained and held hostage by an angry mob: An image that will haunt you and a story that will enrage you
In this shocking expose the Duchess of Cornwall’s brother reveals how baby elephant Raja was shockingly mistreated as he was kept captive in Sumatra. Following the deforestation of the land to produce palm oil, elephants have been forced to live with humans, destroying farms, flattening houses and sometimes killing people. Villagers took Raja, and demanded compensation after his family ruined crops in the area.
By Mark Shand
In all the 30 years I have been working in Asian elephant conservation, I thought I had seen it all – blatant corruption, the rape and total disregard of our beautiful planet and sickening wildlife atrocities, to name but a few. All due to the most dangerous animal of all: homo sapiens.
Not much shocks me any more, but something happened in recent weeks that shook me to the core when the charity Elephant Family and the Ecologist Film Unit set out to document the environmental genocide that is out of control on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.
Sumatra is special to me because I spent a lot of time there on expeditions when I was younger. It was a paradise – vast pristine forests, intact coral reefs and abundant wildlife.
Raja is a male baby elephant found in north Aceh, villagers found him roaming community plantation and held him captive
All this has changed now and their elephants are the most endangered on the planet. In a single generation, the population has been cut in half, with countless other animals disappearing at breakneck speed.
During the filming, a helpless, emaciated baby male elephant called Raja, who was barely a year old, was found in a village, shackled with heavy chains to a tree. He had been taken hostage by the villagers, who were demanding compensation from the Sumatran government for the damage his family had done to their crops.
Can you believe that we are now living in a world where people are actually holding baby elephants to ransom? It is almost unthinkable. But just look at the photographs – look at Raja, as he strains against his chains, waving his little trunk for food and reassurance. He is bellowing in desperation for his mother.
Can you believe that we are now living in a world where people are actually holding baby elephants to ransom?
He strains against his chains, waving his little trunk for food and reassurance. He is bellowing in desperation for his mother
I have heard that sound of distressed calves many times in my life. It never fails to haunt me. But it is his eyes that haunt me more than anything – pleading for help – innocent, desperate and helpless.
A war is being waged across Asia. In the face of relentless deforestation, elephants are being forced out of their natural habitats and they have no choice but to share their living space with humans. As the elephants’ forest home is destroyed, stressed and starving herds flee from the chainsaws straight into villages.
They demolish everything in sight, trampling crops, flattening houses and often killing people. Frankly, you really cannot blame the villagers for taking such drastic steps in the sheer desperation to survive and feed their own families.
Capturing a baby elephant and holding it to ransom is grisly and depressing, but it is reality as humans and elephants fight for space.
People need to know why this is happening. They need to understand what is driving this madness.