#Elephant Phone Ahead – #Wildlife #Poetry

Tamil Nadu, in India,Elephants
Where wildlife still roams,
Protected Asian elephants
Have trampled village homes.

A couple people every year
Die in these encounters
But none at all were killed last year
Crossing tea plantations.

You can sign up for text alerts
Or hear a voice message,
See flashing light on towers high
When elephants make their passage.

Rangers can escort the folks,
Or residents walk away.
Teams of plantation workers, too,
Prevent a deadly day.

Instead of calls to slay the herds,
People now say, leave them
To cross the tea plantation groves
Safely in the ev’nings

By Kate Rauner

The area’s elephants are stuck in forest fragments. They move from one patch to another at dusk when workers are walking home from tea plantations. In the growing darkness, even an elephant is hard to spot, and a startled elephant will charge.

Living with wildlife has its joys and dangers. I live on the edge of the Gila National Forest and two of my llamas were killed by black bears. It’s hard to condemn people who retaliate after loved ones are trampled or houses damaged.

We rural folks get little sympathy from wildlife advocates, but saying the animals were here first doesn’t solve the problem for people or wildlife.

As for those houses elephants broke open:

“Most of the damage happens on the kitchen side, because [elephants] are looking for something in there to eat, such as salt or rice.”

Smart creatures! But if you set out food or salt for them in remote locations, what unintended consequences will you create?

It’s nice to see technology help solve the problem.

Thanks to NatGeo.

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