Please sign and share this petition to help this poor tiny baby! The terrible fate of Raja the baby elephant, chained and held hostage by an angry mob: An image that will haunt you and a story that will enrage you. In this shocking expose the Duchess of Cornwall's brother reveals how baby elephant Raja was shockingly mistreated as he was kept captive in Sumatra. Following the deforestation of the land to produce palm oil, elephants have been forced to live with humans, destroying farms, flattening houses and sometimes killing people. Villagers took Raja, and demanded compensation after his family ruined crops in the area.
Article and petitions courtesy of Andres.Grijalva.Vi
In all the 30 years I have been working in Asian elephant conservation, I thought I had seen it all – blatant corruption, the rape and total disregard of our beautiful planet and sickening wildlife atrocities, to name but a few. All due to the most dangerous animal of all: homo sapiens.
Not much shocks me any more, but something happened in recent weeks that shook me to the core when the charity Elephant Family and the Ecologist Film Unit set out to document the environmental genocide that is out of control on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.
Sumatra is special to me because I spent a lot of time there on expeditions when I was younger. It was a paradise – vast pristine forests, intact coral reefs and abundant wildlife.
All this has changed now and their elephants are the most endangered on the planet. In a single generation, the population has been cut in half, with countless other animals disappearing at breakneck speed.
During the filming, a helpless, emaciated baby male elephant called Raja, who was barely a year old, was found in a village, shackled with heavy chains to a tree. He had been taken hostage by the villagers, who were demanding compensation from the Sumatran government for the damage his family had done to their crops.
Can you believe that we are now living in a world where people are actually holding baby elephants to ransom? It is almost unthinkable. But just look at the photographs – look at Raja, as he strains against his chains, waving his little trunk for food and reassurance. He is bellowing in desperation for his mother.
I have heard that sound of distressed calves many times in my life. It never fails to haunt me. But it is his eyes that haunt me more than anything – pleading for help – innocent, desperate and helpless.
A war is being waged across Asia. In the face of relentless deforestation, elephants are being forced out of their natural habitats and they have no choice but to share their living space with humans. As the elephants’ forest home is destroyed, stressed and starving herds flee from the chainsaws straight into villages.
They demolish everything in sight, trampling crops, flattening houses and often killing people. Frankly, you really cannot blame the villagers for taking such drastic steps in the sheer desperation to survive and feed their own families.
Capturing a baby elephant and holding it to ransom is grisly and depressing, but it is reality as humans and elephants fight for space.
People need to know why this is happening. They need to understand what is driving this madness.
The cause is an innocently named product called palm oil. It’s a constituent part of almost everything that we use and consume – biscuits, margarine, ice cream, soap, shampoo. The list is endless.
And the blame lies firmly with the greed of the large corporations in the East that produce it as a cash crop to fuel the insatiable consumerism of the Western world.
The thirst for palm oil is apparently unquenchable and its cultivation is ripping out the last great rainforests.
Although forest destruction and its lethal impact on endangered species are plain to see, palm oil is practically an invisible ingredient, listed under the generic term ‘vegetable oil’.
April, Duta Palma, Sinar Mas and Sime Darby may not be household names, but these are just some of the companies producing palm oil in Indonesia and selling it on to the market for about £500 per ton.
L’Occitane, Ferrero, Cadbury, Ginster’s pasties, Clover margarine, Pringles, Kellogg’s, Haribo, Nestlé and Mars are just a few of the more familiar names of those that use palm oil.
All the major supermarkets use palm oil in their own-brand products. Some are better than others in getting palm oil from responsible sources, but the point is that it is everywhere and in everything. It is a silent assassin. Not until 2014 will there be a legal requirement for manufacturers to label palm oil on their products.
And, to make matters worse, the only certification body to monitor the production of so-called ‘sustainable’ palm oil is immensely flawed. Consumer industries are hiding behind a fallacy.
The verdant rainforest of Aceh in North Sumatra is one of the largest left in South-East Asia. It is the only place in the world where elephants, tigers, orangutans and rhinos all still live together – a real life Jungle Book.
But, right now, the Aceh government is close to adopting a plan that would see hundreds of thousands of hectares of this forest opened up for the cultivation of palm oil. This ironically titled ‘Spatial Plan’ is nothing more than a deforestation plan – an extinction plan, seeking to legitimise the illegal felling that is already happening.
They will become unrelenting and vast areas of land will flood.
Wildlife will be forced into ever greater conflict with people, and elephants like Raja won’t stand a chance.
Sadly for him, it is too late. He died alone, still chained to that tree, though Elephant Family worked tirelessly for a week to negotiate his release.
Already we’ve discovered that another calf, this one just a month old, has been captured and held to ransom by local farmers. Everyone is working around the clock to make sure that this little calf survives. I am doubtful.
But in the grander scheme of things there is hope. If there wasn’t hope, I would have packed up my bags a long time ago.
If we can protect these forests and stop the new plan in Aceh from going ahead, then we’re taking a giant step in the right direction.
Hundreds of supporters have already written to the Aceh government urging them to stop destroying their forests. But we need help. We need everyone to write.
Increased knowledge of palm oil and compulsory labelling will finally allow shoppers to make informed choices about what they buy. We need to push food manufacturers and retailers to support a transformation of the industry towards genuine sustainable palm oil, and we need to do it quickly.
The most useful thing we can do to help is educate ourselves and avoid buying products that contain palm oil whilst urging companies to stop destroying the rain forests.
More information about palm oil and the products to avoid: http://a-z-animals.com/palm-oil/products/
You will also find more ways to help at: http://www.elephantfamily.org/
Read the full article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2351609/The-terrible-fate-Raja-baby-elephant-chained-held-hostage-angry-mob-An-image-haunt-story-enrage-you.html#ixzz2XeMYaH00