The story of a tusk … KG / VOI RIVER / 30/5/14

Mark Deeble

The Ivory Burn is about to happen and for days the internet has been full of pictures of the pyres being built, conservationists having their pictures taken with tusks, and heart-felt video pleas.

Despite the piles of tusks rising above the plains in some grotesque parody of a rural village, I’ve found it hard to contemplate the significance of what they mean in terms of individual lives. There are so many that it is overwhelming.

We’ve tried. We worked out that the number of tusks in the pyres represents a procession of elephants over 30 miles long, and while it creates a powerful mental image, it gets us no closer to the individuals.

Procession : Burn

I was looking through images of the piles of tusks, posted by Salisha Chandra, cofounder of KUAPO (Kenyans United Against Poaching), when one close-up caught my eye. What first drew my attention, was a spiral bound notebook…

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