Today in AFJ History

August 15, 2013  

1908: The future is elephants

An elephant moves equipment at a munitions plant in Sheffield, England, during World War I.

An elephant moves equipment at a munitions plant in Sheffield, England, during World War I.

From the archive: August 15, 1908

Whether the time will ever come when the elephant can be introduced into the Philippines to aid transportation in regions difficult of access by other means, it is certain that recent developments with that animal in the Congo region of Africa indicate that he is about to pass into a larger field of practical usefulness than that of merely furnishing ivory and delighting youngsters at circuses in far distant lands. So great has been the success in the Congo in domesticating and training the elephant for transport and other farm purposes, that possibly when President Roosevelt goes to Africa after big game he will be so impressed with the domestic uses of the elephant that he will forgo the killing of any of them. Years ago a circus exhibited several elephants in a small Minnesota town. More than one farmer roundabout when he came to do his fall threshing thought of the possibilities of the tusked quadruped if he could only be made to take the places of horses in the furnishing of power. Vice Consul General Lucien Memminger, in a report to the Department of Labor and Commerce, predicts, as a result of the success of the elephant training farm at Api in the Afghan Congo, that the beast may in future contribute in no small measure to the solution of the problem of transport in regions where roads are impracticable. … Breeding elephants in captivity has now reached a point where it is expected elephant caravans will soon be established.

 

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According to a new report entitled “Elephants in the Dust – The African Elephant Crisis”, increasing poaching levels, as well as loss of habitat are threatening the survival of African elephant populations in Central Africa as well as previously secure populations in West, Southern and Eastern Africa.