The Elephant World View
Posted on August 15th, 2010

 Nellie Elephant (Gajaweera Panamure) 

We elephants have our personal problems on our minds all the time.

 The biggest worry for us is to never get too hot in the sun. Because our body mass is so large it is slow to cool down once we get hot. Getting hot is a miserable, upsetting experience. So we exercise at night and rest in the day.

 But this problem of keeping cool is being made more difficult by the step-by-step, one-by-one felling of big trees – those same trees that give good shade and create a cool environment for us to pass the midday hours.  So now, where once there were standing forests which kept whole areas cool and even moist, these forests have been reduced to bushes and scrubland – which is absolutely useless for us to remain cool in. (For example, the endless miles of scrub and bushes along the Habarana – Sigiriya road.) And there is one thing more, there is something pleasing and relaxing about tall, well developed trees and their greenery – they help greatly to keep our minds relaxed. But everyday we hear the whine of chainsaws and the chop, chop, chop of heavy axes on our trees. (See how tourists quit their towns and cities from all round the world and come just to see some greenery. Well, they had better be quick because it is all going under the axe.)

 Our next big headache is access to clean drinking water. The problem with most of the water available to us, is that it is used not only for drinking but also for washing and wallowing in to get cool, too. Drinking this bad water brings stomach upset. There is nothing worse than an elephant’s stomach upset. Big bellies give big bellyaches!  – and they come with big headaches! You just have to get tons of banana trees and leaves to reduce that pain. Only a long trek through this scrub to a large tank can solve this water problem.  And to go with that clean drinking water is our need for salt. We have no money to buy it and we wouldn’t get served even if we did.

 We need to exercise, but another problem is how there are wire fences everywhere and electrical fences, too. It is incomprehensible how trees are cut down and thousands of concrete posts with connecting wires planted instead. (A tree costs 100Rs but a post costs 1,000Rs. But posts do not grow or give shade. Incomprehensible!) These fences restrict us but all land belongs to everybody – doesn’t it?

 Same with growing food, it belongs to everybody. Tell me – what human is so clever as to be able to go to a workshop and make even one stem of rice?

 Humans build roads but block our corridors and even light dangerous fires to stop us using them. Now we understand and think humans are like rats, consuming everything they see. Senior elephants, those who go out adventuring, get very angry with all this destruction of our land.

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