Haunted by a photograph

a compelling essay based on a wonderful old photo.

Mark Deeble

756 - blog

I came across a photograph recently that, every time I see it, causes an involuntary intake of breath, followed by a silent ‘wow!’. The first time it happened was twenty five years ago when I came across Peter Beard’s extraordinary ‘756’, a photograph of a huge number of elephants on the move – a ‘super-herd’. For me, it is one of those iconic images that after you have seen it, life never seems quite the same again – like Nick Ut’s photograph in Vietnam of Kim Phúk running naked down the road, to escape from burning napalm.

What drew me to ‘756’ was the ‘big picture’ it depicted – East Africa at its wildest and finest. A glimpse back into the Pleistocene … when huge herds of mammals roamed the land. I loved that I couldn’t see where the herd ended – how that is left to the viewer’s imagination…

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We MUST ban all ivory commerce to save elephants from extinction.


Unequivocally ban all ivory commerce to save elephants from extinction.

Future generations deserve to grow up in a world where elephants thrive. Children learn “E” is for Elephant, not Extinction.

Close to 100 elephants are killed each day for ivory. Africa-based terrorist networks such as The Lord’s Resistance Army, Janjaweed, and Al-Shabaab fund their nefarious activities with profits from the illegal ivory trade.

We applaud your Administration for issuing the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking to protect elephants and other endangered species and firmly support your leadership and unprecedented efforts to combat the illegal ivory trade.

Banning ivory commerce will turn the tide for elephants, enhance African security as well as our national security interests, and ensure a responsible environmental stewardship for future generations.


One of the best videos about the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust by Village Beat

We tell the ongoing story of the elephant poaching crisis in Kenya, and the threat of elephants throughout Africa. We hear from Julius an elephant keeper at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust orphan’s nursery in Nairobi, and Nick Trent, DSWT’s pilot working together with The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in Kenya’s massive Tsavo National Park. At the current rate of elephants being slaughtered for their ivory it is forecasted that we could see the end of wild elephants across Africa in less than a decade.

The time to act is now – and there is so much we can do.

Click here:  http://vimeo.com/76119923

Begin by getting involved here: iWorry.org. A campaign of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT)

iWorry is organizing marches around the world to urge world leaders to stop the poaching, stop the trade and stop the demand. To press for a complete ban on the international and domestic trade in ivory, to invest more resources into wildlife protection at a field level, and to strengthen penalties for those involved in the ivory trade and to heighten security at ports and borders and to invest in educational efforts to stop the demand for ivory.

You can help too by donating online to support the orphans rehabilitation process and the anti-poaching efforts of DSWT.

Directed by Village Beat
Produced by RYOT
Cliff Martinez, “I Drive” (from the original motion picture soundtrack of Drive).
Darkside, “Heart” (from Psychic, released Oct. 8, 2013).



Smuggler sentenced to 2 years and seven months

A Chinese national has been sentenced to two years and seven months in jail after being convicted for attempting to smuggle ivory from Kenya.

Chen Biemei, 30, was arrested on August 14, 2013 while trying to smuggle assorted worked ivory tucked in 15 sachets disguised and declared as macadamia nuts weighing 6.9kg.

She was trying to board a Kenya Airways Flight KQ 862 to Hong Kong at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

When she appeared before the Makadara Magistrate Court in Nairobi, Biemei denied the charges and was remanded at Lang’ata Women’s Prison.

However, during Thursday’s trial, Biemei pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to serve eight months for being in possession of ivory, 15 months for dealing in ivory and eight months for failing to make a report to wildlife authorities of being in possession of the ivory without an option of fine.

During sentencing, the magistrate noted that Kenya is facing rampant poaching and that the culprit had ‘malicious intentions and a guilty mind’ that necessitates a custodial sentence to reign on the menace.

Biemei first appeared in court on August 15, 2013 but the proceedings were bogged by language hitch.

A State counsel was granted one day to find an interpreter to aid in the prosecution. The magistrate directed that she remains in custody until August 16, 2013 to allow the State counsel look for an interpreter before taking a plea.

A total of 17 suspects of six different nationalities have been arrested smuggling ivory out of the country since the beginning of this year.