Let Us Not Forget the Elephants. ~ Marghanita Hughes

The Elephant Ecosystem

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Adéle van Schalkwyk

Do you love elephants? I do!

I always have.

I’ve loved them ever since my first and only encounter with a baby elephant at London Zoo in my 20s. With the elephant being so small, I was able to look straight into his soulful eyes and at that moment I felt a connection.

Sometimes we forget how deeply rooted we are to nature, to the land and to elephants.

Last night, I was reminded of that connection through the lens of film maker Mark Deeble’s stunning documentary film about the life of a Sycamore tree.

I was fascinated to learn of the contributions from elephants to our existence in the wonderful and beautifully documented film by Mark, The Queen of Trees:

“It is an ecosystem of a tree. There are animals whose lives so depend on the tree that they cannot exist without it, and vice versa. In the two years we spent filming, we barely scratched the surface of the web of interconnectivity that the tree was central to. The sycamore fig is vital to animals ranging from ants to elephants.” 

We Are All One. We Are All Connected.

As Zen Buddist monk and author Thich Nhat Hanh so eloquently writes in a passage titled “Interbeing” (from his book, Peace is Every Step), “To be is to inter-be. We cannot just be by ourselves alone. We have to inter-be with every other thing.”

So why bother with elephants? Deeble answers with:

“The scientist in me was the first to answer, for diversity in ecosystems reflects a more vibrant, interesting, and robust life-support system for the planet. Elephants play an important role. They are key-stone species, terrestrial-ecosystem architects, and gardeners without parallel.

In tropical rain forests elephants spread seeds up to fifty kilometers from where they ate them. The seeds of a particular species of Balanites tree are dispersed only by elephants. It is simple – no elephants, no trees. We still don’t know how important that tree is, but we do know that similar trees, whose seeds are spread by elephants, support hundreds of different species of animals and plants.”

Their love, their beauty, their compassion and respect for others has always humbled me.

After watching Deeble’s powerful film, I was reminded of how important all life is and how we must protect all species.

I went to bed with a heavy heart. During the night I dreamt this image: Connected, the elephant and the child journeyed through the magical moonlit sky, sowing seeds of love and mindfulness with every step.

Very few of us will ever have the privilege of experiencing elephants in the wild.

I dream of one day volunteering to help orphaned elephants but until then, what can I do to help? I can use my creativity and imagination to help raise awareness for these animals.

How can you help?

The below poster is a gift from my heart to you for our beautiful Elephant friends.

Elephants by Marghanita Hughes

I invite you to celebrate these amazing gentle giants and help raise awareness of the important role they play in the circle of life by downloading and printing the image.

Pin it up to remind you and your loved ones of our deep connection with these amazing animals. Send it to a friend. Share it with your friends at work. Take a copy to your local school.

Let us not forget the elephants.

Let us be mindful and full of gratitude for all the animals, insects, plants, trees and all living things.

A mindful life is a happy life.

If we practice compassion and mindfulness daily and nurture it in our children, it offers hope for humanity, for the elephants and all other living things including our beautiful yet fragile little planet.

Thank you to Mark Deeble for his love, compassion and ability to truly appreciate elephants—not only for their abundant love and beauty but for their contribution to mankind, the ecology and the other animals.

Wishing you all a beautiful and enchanting week in nature, love and peace.

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Apprentice Editor: Carrie Marzo

Photo: Adéle van Schalkwyk / Pixoto, Original artwork by Marghanita Hughes 

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

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Marghanita Hughes

Marghanita Hughes is the founder of the non-profit organizaion Let’s Go Outside Revolution and author of Actively Engaging Children with Nature and countless children’s picture books focusing on nature. She is an ECE workshop presenter and director of Outside with Marghanita. She has presented both nationally and internationally as keynote speaker and presented for diverse audiences in Edinburgh, Scotland and London, UK, including the Nature Education Conference, New Zealand and The Manitoba Nature Conference, Canada. An energetic and passionate presenter, Marghanita brings her wealth of knowledge on how to actively engage children with nature through art. Gifting a sense of wonder and creativity, Marghanita is an inspirational voice in the children and nature and art movement. Marghanita runs outdoor nature classes for young children throughout the year and is a member of ARTSTARTS in Schools and the ambassador for the Creative Peace Movement  in Canada. Marghanita welcomes you to e-mail her for additional elephant illustrations.

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anonymous Sep 5, 2015 8:09pm

Lovely

anonymous Jul 7, 2015 6:02pm

Thanks for the marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you can be a great author.

I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back down the road.

I want to encourage continue your great job, have a nice afternoon!

anonymous Jun 30, 2015 12:17pm

I enjoy this website. I would like receive more information about elephants. If could I would have one as pet.

anonymous Feb 1, 2015 11:21am

Hi Marganhita – thanks so much for looking in on The Phraser and taking the time to comment. Animal welfare experts throughout Zimbabwe and beyond are desperate to raise awareness of the plight of a large group of Zimbabwe's wild-born young elephants threatened with sale to captivity in China – a terrible fate for a wild born elephant who has suddenly been captured and enclosed ready for transportation to a country thousands of miles away. I hope we can all 'inter-be' enough to stop this. Thanks so much for your interest Georgie

anonymous Feb 1, 2015 11:15am

Hi Marganhita – thanks so much for looking in on The Phraser and taking the time to comment. Animal welfare experts throughout Zimbabwe and beyond are desperate to raise awareness of the plight of a large group of Zimbabwe's wild-born young elephants, suddenly ripped from their families and threatened with sale to captivity in China – a terrible fate for a wild African elephant and a virtual death sentence for a young elephant suddenly alone and stressed, inexplicably thousands and thousands of miles from where he should be. I hope we can all 'inter-be' enough to stop this. Many thanks again for all you do Georgie

anonymous Jul 8, 2014 7:05pm

Thank you for this beautiful post, Marghanita. I loved the phrase: "To be is to inter-be. We cannot just be by ourselves alone. We have to inter-be with every other thing.”
I wish so much people would live like that, don't you? I accidentally found Mark Deeble on Facebook and I love how he writes about eles. I, too, would someday like to help out with the eles but until then I blog about them and share everything I find on Facebook to make people aware of their impending extinction.

anonymous May 29, 2014 11:44am

Dearest Jeffrey what an honor and rich experience that must have been to have witnessed these gentle giants in their natural habitat. I live in hope that one day all elephants will be free from such brutal butchery…thanks to individuals, organizations and wonderful groups like Elephants Journal who continue to raise awareness of whats going on in the world….here's to remembering how deeply connected we are to all living things…wishing you a beautiful day in nature Jeff, love and peace Marghanita xx

anonymous May 28, 2014 1:16pm

You're so right about the magical being of elephants, Marghanita. I got to see many of them in the wild last summer and it was an awesome experience. To know that they are still being killed for their tusks is painful, so I appreciate your words and fanciful image in reminding us of our one-ness with them and all the earth's wonders.