The poachers had been in the park before, in 2010,
when they killed about a dozen elephants
and two park guards.
This time, they were shooting elephants in far greater numbers,
and in some cases
sawing off the tusks while the animals were still alive.
Elephants are under siege throughout Africa
Demand for ivory is increasing in Asia
ivory cigarette holders, chopsticks,
and even carved miniature elephants.
In Hong Kong,
a pair of carved tusks can be worth two hundred thousand dollars.
sometimes called hot ivory or pink ivory,
is especially coveted on the illegal market.
Turkalo told me,
“It’s not my job to create security.
My job is to come here every day and observe elephants.”
Standing on the viewing platform,
as the mist lifted after a rain,
she looked out at the elephants
milling around the clearing.
“I’m pretty realistic about what these animals are up against,
their world has become extremely imperilled.
We’re losing the war
to save it."
Poetry form: erasure poetry
This poem is based on an article in The New Yorker - May 11. 2015
It's entitled Elephant Watch.
Imaginary Garden With Real Toads - An Elephantine Challenge