If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews

10/07 M.E. Browning, Shadow Ridge

10/14 Alexia Gordon

10/21 Adam Meyer

10/28 Barbara Ross, Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door

October Guest Bloggers

10/03 Kathleen Kalb

10/17 S. Lee Manning

10/31 Sharon Dean

WWK Weekend Bloggers

10/10 Jennifer J. Chow

10/24 Kait Carson


For The Love Of Lobster Tales by Shari Randall is now available to download free for a limited time. Go to Black Cat Mysteries at: https://bcmystery.com/ to get your free copy! Thanks for the freebie, Shari.

Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Elephants - Amazing Animals

On June 19th of this year, over a ton of confiscated ivory was crushed in a rock crusher in Times Square NYC. It was highlighting the illegal trade that threatens African elephants’ survival. The Wildlife Conservation Society says the global ivory trade is responsible for the slaughter of as many as 35,000 elephants a year in Africa. Those facts sickened me when I read it.

John Calvelli, the society’s executive vice president for public affairs, said “Crushing ivory in Times Square – literally at the crossroads of the world – says in the clearest of terms that the U.S. is serious about closing its illegal ivory markets and stopping the demand. The event was organized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New York state agencies and the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs New York City’s zoos. The crush was one of several ivory destruction events that have been held around the world to stigmatize the ivory trade. The Times Square ivory will be combined with the six tons that was crushed in Denver in 2013 and used to create a memorial to elephants.

The newspaper article reminded me of an article in the April 2015 Reader’s Digest “The Day the Elephants Danced” by Vicki Constantine Croke. It was about a British man, James Howard Williams, (called Billy) who moved to Burma and took a job as forest assistant with the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation so he could work with elephants. His experience working with them convinced him they were very intelligent animals.

One experience reinforced that belief. In the late 1920’s there was a large backlog of teak logs, smaller ones in the front graduating to massive ones in the back, awaiting in a dry river bed for the start of the monsoon rains for the logs to flow downstream.  When the heavy rains started a major problem was realized. Because a new railroad bridge crossed the river eight miles downstream, logs hitting the abutments supporting the bridge could cause its collapse. Williams, in charge of the elephants and their riders, quickly called for Poo Ban and Poo Gyi, two tuskers besides being big and strong were also what elephant riders called “wise old animals.”

A large tense crowd of villagers came to watch as Poo Ban and Poo Gyi arrived and were ordered into the water. The animals calmly strolled out and the riders positioned one elephant in front of each abutment.  When they were in place, the riders scrambled up on the abutments and shouted “Coming left” or Coming right” as the first smaller teak logs came. Immediately the elephants with casual grace caught each log using tusks and trunks and diverted it towards the center of the river so it would miss the abutments.

A backup pair of elephants waited to take over when Poo Ban and Poo Gyi tired, but the elephants worked on and on diverting the logs. The tuskers were good, and even when the pace picked up as larger and much heavier logs arrived, the elephants held their ground – left tusk, right tusk. Williams wasn’t the only one thrilled by their skill. Over the load crashing of the logs, the cheers of the crowd were heard. Williams was afraid to add the other two elephants for fear they’d get in each other’s way. Just when he feared the two old elephants couldn’t go on, they began to turn around. Their riders frantically shouted at them to stop, but they didn’t listen. They turned their rumps to the logs and did a hula-hula dancing movements, allowing logs to ricochet off their rumps into the center of the river. The crowd erupted into laughter and cheers. When just a few logs were coming, Poo Ban and Poo Gyi were replaced by the pair in waiting. After it was over, Williams said, “It was a triumph for the jumbos, and not one log damaged the pier.”

I went to Google and found the article “7 Behaviors That Prove Elephants Are Incredibly Smart”

One: They can identify Languages.

Two: They can use tools.

Three: They understand human body language.

Four: They show empathy.

Five: They mourn their dead.

Six: They mimic human voices.

Seven: They have extraordinary memories.

To learn more about the research done on the above facts and to see some awesome and touching videos of each, Google “7 Behaviors That Prove Elephants are Incredibly Smart.” It is well worth the time spent.

Seven years ago I read the book Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen, a fictional book published in 2006 that was on many bestseller lists because of her research into how circus animals were treated, especially the elephant Rosie, who became one of the characters. If you haven’t read it, you should. Everyone in both of my book clubs was impressed with it.
two old circus elephants reunited after 20 years.

Billy Williams believed that living with elephants made him a better man. He fought for their humane care in the teak business. When Japanese forces invaded Burma in 1942, Williams joined the elite British Force1136, operating a team of war elephants that carried supplies, built bridges, and transported the sick and elderly over treacherous mountain terrain. You can read more about him in the book Elephant Company by Vicki Constantine Croke.

What do you find interesting about elephants?

Would you like to work with elephants?


Jim Jackson said...

Rather than crushing ivory, we need to crush poachers and those who purchase ivory. Since that probably doesn’t meet the cruel and unusual punishment test, I suggest pulling all their teeth and giving them dried corn kernels to eat while they rot in prison.

This is not a new problem. We almost exterminated the bison just to get their fir, leaving their meat to rot across the prairies.

~ Jim

Kara Cerise said...

What remarkable animals. The story about how they moved the teak logs was amazing. I'd love to hear elephants mimic human voices.

It makes me angry that the "wise old animals" are killed for their tusks. I like Jim's version of justice.

Gloria Alden said...

Jim, I like your suggestion of punishment. Unfortunately, the ones who kill the elephants
are hard to find, but the others - not so hard. We not only almost exterminated the bison, but the Native Americans when we came to this country, and actually did exterminate many of the tribes in the East. I don't know if it has stopped or not, but for a while there were hunters who were killing baby seals for their fur, too.

Kara, you need to go to the site I mentioned and watch the videos of each of those seven attributes of elephants I suggested. There is one where the elephant is mimicking the voice of his Korean trainer and caretaker. I'll be honest and say it was hard to recognize the words, but maybe it was because they were Korean and not English.

Kait said...

What amazing animals. Elephants are gentle animals too, unless provoked. They always fascinated, and intimidated, me.

KM Rockwood said...

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

Gloria Alden said...

Kait, I've always been fascinated by them, too, but wouldn't want to get too close to one unless the one who took care of them was there, too. They are big. I also downloaded a picture which I didn't have room to put in my blog of a care taker kneeling holding a baby elephant on his lap. So touching especially as you could see the love both felt for each other. The baby elephant probably weighed more than his care giver.

KM, Mahatma Gandhi was an amazingly intelligent and astute man. More people ought to follow his teachings.

Shari Randall said...

I like what KM said!
What wonderful animals, Gloria. My daughter's sister in law was lucky enough to work on an elephant reserve in Thailand. She said they have personalities and emotions like we do - big hearts to go with their big bodies! When I see those photos of poachers or hunters posing with dead elephants I just want to scream. I'm with Jim - we need stiffer penalties for these criminals.

Grace Topping said...

Thank you for an informative blog. It is sad that we prey on this beautiful animals. However, I'm at a loss as to what was to be gained by crushing the tusks. Perhaps a better solution would have been to offer them to museums and other organizations throughout the country. Perhaps not. But such a waste.

Anonymous said...

It always amazes me when the human race assumes we could talk with extraterrestrials. We do such a poor job of interacting with other species on our own planet. Elephants are exceptional creatures, with emotions and empathy. I'm not sure that I would like to spend time with elephants but I know what I would like to do if I had time to spend with ivory poachers.... ~ Laura Byrnes

Gloria Alden said...

What a great job your daughter's sister-in-law has. It's good to hear that she's working in a job with elephants she loves.

Grace, it was to send a message that we are not going to tolerate ivory buying or trading. They're going to use what's been crushed to create a large memorial to elephants.What also worries me is the rhinos that are being killed to get their horn because a belief that is had some medicinal value or help for men's libido. Mostly it's sold to the Chinese or other Asian companies who believe this.

Laura, we are a weird species in our various beliefs. I agree with that. There are a lot of ignorant people out there who don't read or listen to the news, or only follow the wacky people who spout their ignorant beliefs.