Wells Tower ’96 joins an elephant hunt

[Wells Tower '96]"Who wants to shoot an elephant?" Wells Tower '96 joins an exclusive hunting party and reports on one of the last elephant hunts in Botswana. Wells writes a long-form journalistic inquiry into the psychology and economics of elephant hunting:

Fair warning: An elephant does get shot in this story. It gets shot pretty soon. Maybe that upsets you, as it did 100 percent of the people (hunters and nonhunters) to whom I mentioned this assignment.

Elephants are obviously amazing, or rather, they are obvious receptacles for our amazement, because they seem to be a lot like us. They live about as long as we do. They understand it when we point at things, which our nearest living evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee, doesn’t really. They can unlock locks with their trunks. They recognize themselves in mirrors. They are socially sophisticated. They stay with the same herds for life, or the cows do, anyway. They mourn their dead. They like getting drunk (and are known to loot village liquor stashes in Africa and India). When an elephant keels over, its friends sometimes break their tusks trying to get it to stand up again. They bury their dead. They bear grudges against people who’ve hurt them, and sometimes go on revenge campaigns. They cry.

So why would you want to put a bullet in one?

Read more…

Image: by John Minihan

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