Monday, September 30, 2013

Elephant Says Goodbye To An Old Friend

This incredible photograph was taken by John Chaney as part of the 2012 National Geographic Traveler photo contest. Chaney wrote that the female elephant in the image, which was taken in 2007, stood guard over the body of her friend for hours to pay her respects, chasing off birds and predators. She then wrapped her trunk around the other's tusk in a heartbreaking goodbye.

"I think it should be something we are comfortable talking about," Simon said in August following the death of his mother. "Insofar as we can talk about it comfortably, we can reset the clocks in our own lives. If we can accept death and understand it and know, whether we are 10 or 30 or 60 or 80, that it's just over the horizon."

Sadly, this scene is only reflective of the growing peril African elephants face. The international ivory trade is thriving and poachers are going to extreme lengths to hunt and kill the giants for their tusks. Wildlife conservation groups estimate upwards of 35,000 elephants were killed in 2012.

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