The Ghost Elephants Haunting Angola


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Dec 18, 2015
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Legend says there are elephants hidden in the highlands of Angola, swathed in mist and never seen by humans before. The National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project’s Kerllen Costa and Dr. Steve Boyes are on a mission to find them and unearth their secrets.​

Pre-colonial Africa was home to about 26 million elephants. By 1970, their numbers were down to 1.3 million. Today, there are only about 400,000 of these animals across the continent.

Many factors have contributed to the decline in elephant populations. Poachers have culled them for their ivory tusks, human development has encroached on natural habitats and they have been pushed out as lands are used for agriculture.

In Angola, there was another threat to the native elephant population: war.

In 1961, the Angolan War of Independence began, marking the beginning of 40 years of conflict in the region.

Nothing more than fairy tales my friend. I grew up in Angola... I've heard the tales and legends but I've also been up there in the highlands. It's truly a haunting place... Filled with mist but there are no elephants. During the civil war, the highlands of Angola were deep into UNITA territory. UNITA used to kill the elephants to sell the ivory in exchange for Portuguese guns. This resulted in the extermination of elephants in that region. They can go out there and explore but they will be wasting their time. Elephants in Angola are only found in Cuando Cubango, Moxico, Bengo and from time to time a straggler in the Cunene region and that's it. The highlands saw some intense warfare... I don't believe there are elephants left up there.
Thanks for sharing
The elephants may be legends but the funding for the expedition is real. Never underestimate the value of a good bullshit story!
Precisely how wars are started and elections won!
Am I missing something? I have no dog in this fight but...

“We’ve done a couple of trips to try to have a glimpse of them. One of them was on bicycles; we did 300km deep down into the forest. And we did see a lot of dung, a lot of fresh marks, we could feel the smell of them, but we never got to actually see them. But we could sense that they were there. They are there, but you can’t see them, even though they’re that big. So that’s where we got that ghost elephant terminology,” Costa remembers.

Where I'm from, dung = animals. So if they found dung (and other sign) it would seem to indicate to me SOMETHING is there.

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I didn't get drawn for Wyoming this year.

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another great review