Looking into the eyes of a giant 13,000 pound elephant has a way of making you feel small... When most animals are depicted in movies or TV shows, their size is almost always exaggerated, making them seem much smaller in the wild. For elephants, however, no camera could ever show just how giant they truly are. When sitting in a 6-foot tall vehicle that is dwarfed by even the smaller members of a herd, it is impossible not to have an appreciation for their power and beauty.
Just as standing at the base of a melting glacier makes it hard for humans to comprehend the scale of our impacts, standing at the feet of an African elephant evokes the same sense of bewilderment. Yet despite being small as individuals, our footprints, for better or for worse, are changing the world.
Though it is hard to imagine that humans could impede the movement of elephants, control their access to food and water, and ultimately dictate their survival, that is exactly what conservationists, local communities, poachers, hunters, and tourists are all doing. The survival of earth’s largest land mammal is a responsibility that as humans, we all share.