Today we went to see “Born to be Wild” with my Mom and the kids. If you haven’t heard of it, it is a film about two amazing women, Dame Daphne Sheldrick in Kenya and Dr. Biruke Galdikas in Borneo. These two women have devoted their lives to rescuing, raising, and re-introducing to the wild orphaned elephants and orangutans, respectively. Not only is the film beautifully made, but at a mere 45 minutes long, it packs a wallop and leaves you with a sense of urgency. We are on the verge of either losing some of these creatures forever due to our own greed, or changing our ways and preserving their lives along with our own.
My kids and I have read articles about the destruction of the rain forests; we’ve read about elephant poachers and how the changing climate has affected these animals. But there is no teacher greater than our eyes and hearts, and no amount of books or lectures can match the power of images like an entire herd of once orphaned, now wild elephants coming to a watering hole to greet three ‘newbies’ – young elephants who are old enough to start their re-introduction into the wild – and welcome them to the herd. My kids watched with wide eyes, and I know they won’t soon forget it.
Movies like this are needed now, in times when some in government would repeal laws protecting natural habitats in the name of business. No business needs to expand into the Everglades, for instance, but there are animals who do need to be there – who will become extinct if someone does not protect their homes. It is up to us to be that someone.
So go see the movie if you can. And if it isn’t showing near you, here are several links that will show you clips, give you information on the foundations involved and let you know how you can help. We are going to foster one of the elephants currently living on Dame Sheldrick’s compound. $50 a year is a small price to pay to support one of these magnificent animals.