Jada was limping, her right shoulder bleeding from three bullet wounds, when Enock Ochieng, manager of the Mpala Elephant Monitoring Project, saw her emerging from the bush. She had been shot by a poacher and had somehow managed to escape. The bullets were too deep to remove, so she was given a large dose of antibiotics and slowly walked away a few minutes later. Jana survived, unlike the thousands of elephants killed for their ivory tusks—35,000 in 2012 alone. If poaching continues at its current pace, Kenyan elephants face extinction by 2023. When elephants disappear, the land changes. According to Dr. Robert Pringle, who works on Mpala’s UHURU (Ungulate Herbivory Under Rainfall Uncertainty) Project, “You have a lot more trees in a lot less grass,” which means a lot more cover for predators. Jada and the other elephants on Mpala land are well protected. Even there, however, poachers are willing to risk arrest for the fortune they will earn on the illegal ivory market. Tusks recently seized in Hong Kong were valued at $2.25 million!
RIVER CAMP PRODUCTIONS: FILMMAKING BY KENYAN AND PRINCETON STUDENTS