Friday, May 22, 2015

Wild Kingdom

We've had some more "Wild Kingdom" excitement around here. (And I apologize that this has become something of a gardening blog lately, but what can I say -- that's where the action is!)

Our lacewings came in the mail yesterday. They turned out not to be fully-grown lacewings, but rather lacewing larvae, which are incredibly tiny and thus not very photogenic. So, sadly, I have no pictures to share. We opened the envelope and extracted the cardboard "wafer" the larvae inhabit, and put pieces of it on various plants. Supposedly the bugs will crawl off the wafer and onto the leaves. Somehow this is far less satisfying than releasing easily visible ladybugs that begin consuming aphids right away!

Speaking of which, the ladybugs are still visible on the campion, eating. I can't find them on any of the other plants where we released them, so they may have moved on. Who knows.

We also had a bit of excitement with our foxes this morning. Olga leaped out of bed at about 4:30 and stood in rapt attention at the bedroom door. I didn't hear anything but I got out of bed and went to the window, and sure enough, the adult fox and at least one kit were romping around in the back yard. The kit hopped up on the birdbath and knocked it over. Such a puppyish thing to do! Once again, I couldn't get to my camera while they were out and about -- and I think it was really too dark to get a decent shot, anyway.

"Hey, are you eating behind me?"

I read the most distressing article in The New Yorker yesterday, about elephant poaching in Africa. It began with an account of a caravan of well-armed poachers -- hundreds of them, including janjaweed fighters from Darfur -- traveling from Sudan to Cameroon, where they proceeded to occupy a national park for three months and slaughter 650 elephants. Even the Cameroonian army couldn't drive them out. A group of them went north to Chad and killed several park rangers along with more elephants before heading back home again. And of course, they only want the elephants' tusks, which they sell to the Chinese.

The article made the point that this occurred in a relatively well-governed African state -- so imagine what's going on in Congo or the Central African Republic, places with huge national parks and barely functioning government. The central figure in the story is an elephant researcher in the CAR, who was driven out of the country by political instability and later returned to find many of "her" elephants poached.

Are the people in Asia who buy all this ivory aware of what they're doing? Do they not care, or simply not understand? I just don't get it. Such a waste, for nothing. And even more frustrating: WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO ABOUT IT?! I could donate money -- somewhere -- but forgive my skepticism that it actually reaches the elephants.

One thing the elephants have going for them is that the proceeds from poaching often help fund terrorism and war -- which gives governments like ours in the U.S. and Europe an even more urgent reason to pay attention. But still. Agony.

(Top photo: Blue doors in Bloomsbury, a couple of weeks ago.)


  1. You could do some investigation to see what portion of any donation will benefit the elephants...sadly, regarding the rest, you are probably right. Olga is such a photogenic dog!

  2. This reminds me of a story in the newspaper here yesterday. A baby elephant was born in a zoo a while ago, and it died. It really touched me, which I found confusing because it touched me more than the horrible stories about the Mediterranean or Syria. The world is a scary place sometimes, and elephants seem to be showing it right now.

  3. well, considering that probably half my posts are gardening posts, I don't mind at all! and I love that picture of Olga. as for the elephants and the, they don't care.

  4. I really don't understand how some people can be so cold-hearted about animals. Or, maybe it's just cold-hearted period. After all, there are quit a lot of them killing each other too.
    It's fun that you ave so much action in your garden. It's like living in the country when you right in the heart of a huge city.
    Love the photo of cute.

  5. I don't understand the lack of empathy by many people toward animals. Elephants are such intelligent creatures and mourn their dead like humans do.

    Well, like some humans do. I wonder if those killing the elephants DO mourn their dead, when it comes to that?

    Your Olga is a sweet faced girl.

  6. Oh the elephant thing is just so tragic - I can hardly stand it. As it is I'm || this close to becoming a vegetarian...

    Love that Olga - her life is not the least bit tragic, which helps, somehow.

  7. "What am I supposed to do about it?!"

    You're writing about it here, raising awareness. That's doing a lot.

    I once asked this question of a Buddhist monk, in connection with something else, and he said, "It is enough for you to know it, to be awake to it. That ripples out. That is doing something."

  8. Ah, that Olga, she is so appealing.

    As for the elephants; men who kill other men in so-called wars will have no compunction about killing elephants.

    I won't read the article, it will only serve to underline the madness and self-centred out look of many people on the planet.

    Grumpy Ms Soup

  9. What a great photo of Olga! She has such an expressive face.

    About hunting elephants and other (rare) animals: As long as people believe that certain parts of (rare) animals are effective medicine for various ailments, animals are being hunted. Eating ground rhino horn for impotence - well, it works well as any other placebo such as any other ground bone would ... but eating any old ground bone doesn't sound as impressive... What we could do about it ? I don't know? Avoid travelling to such countries?Avoid buying such products or produce of those countries? Avoid using traditional medicine of those countries?