“Of the 50,000 elephants that roamed Chad 50 years ago, barely 2 percent are left. In the neighboring Central African Republic and Cameroon, the population may be even lower. Poverty, bribery and insecurity are all contributing factors in a region where a single large tusk can sell on the black market for $6,000—ten times the annual salary of a typical worker.”
Smithsonian Magazine recently published an article about elephant poaching around the world. Adventist bush pilot, Gary Roberts, flew to the aid of local conservationists to investigate reports of a mass killing and attempted to save the life of a single 9-month old calf.
“Roberts, 36, a Seventh-day Adventist missionary, experienced bush pilot and amateur conservationist who sometimes flies research missions for Chad’s wildlife department, climbed into his single-engine, four-seat Cessna. He took off from the mission’s dirt airstrip and headed north toward the border. Roberts cruised for three hours over a vast green carpet—low-lying brush, sorghum fields and stands of acacias, broken by an occasional dirt road or cattle trail. “I didn’t have any coordinates, nobody knew exactly where it was,” recalls the missionary-pilot, who grew up in Congo’s remote North Kivu province, the son of another Adventist missionary, and has spent nearly his entire life in Central Africa. “So I’m flying at 500 feet, looking for anything unusual.” As he passed over blackened scrub west of the town of Fianga, the result of a controlled burn to create arable land, Roberts noticed elephant tracks—hundreds of them—in the charred soil. He dipped his plane lower and followed the tracks to a clearing. It was then that he saw the first pile of bones.”
You can read The Smithsonian’s full story here.
As followers of Christ, we have a responsibility to look at the world through the lens of the gospel. What conversations do you think the community should have when addressed with issues of conservation, consumption, and climate change?
Photo: Kate Brooks for NBC News