Wonky and Wellington want their mangos

Allow me to quote from the home page of Mfuwe Lodge in Zambia:

“At least 3 generations of one particular family of Elephants have returned annually and their unusual dining habits have been the focus of many a TV documentary…”

What does Wonky Tusk and her family do? They walk straight through the lobby of this chic hotel as soon as the mangos are ripe. Hey, it’s not their fault the hotel was built around their favorite mango tree. Click to what a video.


Elephants are amazing creatures, both gentle and fearsome. They have long been my favorite animal, without even realizing it. (the elephants realized it; I once heard one say to the other: “look who it is again”)

I remember the first time I saw one in real life; it was the Bronx Zoo, probably around 1970.
I was awe struck. Every other animal could have been out of town that day and the trip would have been worth it.

My siblings and I had 2 plastic elephants we played with growing up…..I hadn’t thought about them until just now, but the joy they brought me came rushing back like it was yesterday.

‎I can’t count how many times I dragged my children to the Los Angeles Zoo to see the elephants, (and whatever other animals were in town). We probably went there 25 times over a five year period.

“MOM! Can you tell Dad we don’t want to go see the elephants this weekend? We’ll go to church, do homework, anything but the Zoo! ”

And then there’s the circus! How about the hush over the crowd as the big elephants would waltz into the Big Top! Children pointing, parents ooh’ing and ahh’ing.

Raise your hand if you don’t think elephants are the coolest creatures on God’s green earth.

If only we treated them better.

I just saw two of them walking on a back-jungle road in Laos. They had these giant chains around their necks and looked tired. Our guide assured us they were well cared for and lived nice lives dragging giant teak trees out of the jungle. ‎ Oh, sure, and that slave is happy, he has a nice cabin, 3 meals a day, and gets to enjoy the great outdoors every day!

If you love elephants as much as I do, I suggest you do two things. Check out the story of Wonky Tusk, and explore the website 96Elephants.org.

96 Elephants will be killed today in Africa, for their ivory.

We humans are so embarrassing, and infuriating.

It’s one thing to kill a rogue elephant who has trampled your village, but to seek them out and shoot them so you can make little figurines to sell in China Town? Is there no greater crime?Imagine shooting a mother elephant to “harvest” her tusks, and then leaving the lifeless body for its baby to cry over. Elephants mourn their dead. They actually emit a low pitch, vibrating  rumble that travels along the ground,  gathering the herd to stand over their dead sister, brother, mother.They even return to the site and pick up and move around the bones, and grieve.If you don’t know how deeply elephants feel the pain of loss, you don’t know elephants….and you should get to know them. Life isn’t always summer sailing and picnics, although I wish it was.We are doing horrible things to Mother Nature, and the road to change is awareness.96 elephants will be killed today while I’m striper fishing. That thought stills my heart, and tears my eyes.

World Elephant Day is August 12th. What should we do?  The Back40 Mercantile will do something, let me talk to my partners….they love elephants also. And their children love elephants. And YOU love elephants. And we’re caging them, and killing them, and dressing them up in funny costumes, and charging tourists to ride them.Let’s treat them better. Go to 96elephants.org …start there.Those good people are fighting the poachers.Let’s support them.

The Bronx Zoo was named one of the top 10 worst zoos for elephants – three years in a row. Happy, a 44 year old elephant, has been kept in solitary confinement for almost a decade, even though it is the nature of elephants to form tight relationships with the pack. Full article: