With each new tree that’s planted, there’s a new opportunity for success! Local wildlife is severely affected when trees are removed. Elephants rely on trees – more so than any other forest animals.
So what happens when those trees disappear? Where do elephants go? Keep reading to find out more about the story of Tan and her elephant herd – a modern-day tale.
A New Morning In The Forest
The morning sun peeks through the rainforest canopy and Tan stretches her body in response. She’s ready to greet a new day.
Today will be one of new beginnings.
Food has grown scarce in the part of the forest that Tan and her herd call home. The time has come for them to move on. Tan has lived in this part of the rainforest for over 40 years. In this time, she has witnessed long months of draught, monsoons turn rivers into lakes, and hurricanes rip trees up by their buttress roots as if they were twigs.
But what is occurring now is unlike any force of nature she has seen.
The area of the rainforest which was once home to only her herd (and a handful more) is now filled beyond capacity with animals whose homes have been destroyed nearby. The once bountiful jungle has had to feed too many mouths. It is now stripped of its food, making life difficult for its inhabitants.
As the largest animals of the jungle, elephants require the most resources. Their life has become most difficult of all.
Tan, as the most elderly elephant, has made the decision that she and her herd will be the first to move on in search of new ground. Where they will go and what they will find, she does not yet know. However, she is confident that the rainforest will provide for them as it always has done, for her, and her ancestors before.
Moving On To Pastures New
The herd sets off through the jungle, 15 of them in total. The young calves are ushered to the middle of the herd, kept safe under the watchful eye of their mothers and aunties. They walk for hours, but all they find is more overcrowded forest. Weary, cautious animals peer at them with unwelcoming eyes.
The jungle has begun to thin out now, and Tan notices the trees growing sparser. In the place of giant fig trees there are only stumps, marking where they once stood. Soon, there are no trees or stumps at all. There are only fields – as far north as Tan can see. The herd are growing hungry after their journey. The calves have begun to grumble.
Despite being wary of the open fields, the smell of the sugarcane beckons the herd. As Tan keeps watch, the elephant mothers and children pull up clumps of cane, thankful for reprieve after a long journey. They’re grateful to finally have something to line their stomachs.
But their reprieve doesn’t last long. The herd become aware of a disturbance.
Then… a sound in the distance.
Tan spots three men running toward them. They carry large tools that reflect the sun, a warning of the trouble they will bring.
Tan doesn’t hesitate. She sounds the alarm to her herd, commanding them to run back toward the forest of stumps. The calves are frightened, and even though they appear calm, their parents are too.
The herd runs and runs until finally the farmers are a safe distance behind them. Thankfully, they’ve given up the chase. Tan’s heart sinks. She knows they cannot continue like this. Without food, they won’t survive.
Elephant Tan & Her Herd Are Safe At Last
Tan tries to stay positive and leads the elephant herd in a new, less exposed direction.
After walking for over an hour, their surroundings gradually begin to change. Stumps are uprooted and piled together. In their place are neat rows of saplings.
This looks much more like old times.
Further along, the saplings become rows of young trees, many of them bearing fruits. Further still, and the young trees are interspersed with older, more established trees. This area of the rainforest – its mix of old and new – is different to anything Tan has seen before.
But it’s lush, and it’s abundant.
Tan and her herd rejoice at their fortune, and prepare to settle into their new-found home. Tan wonders how the rainforest has begun to regrow in this new way.
So as Tan and her herd finally lay their heads down under the enveloping canopy of their new home, they breathe a sigh of relief. They sleep sound in the knowledge that by whatever means, the forest is regrowing, and they are safe at last.
Note To The Reader
Tan’s cautionary tale is a fictional account, based on true events. This story needs to be told and needs to be shared. It helps illustrate the urgent need to plant trees and renew rainforests within areas of deforestation. That way, the wildlife that depend on rainforest will be protected.
It is estimated that half of the world’s rainforests have already been cleared. A further 18.7million acres are being lost per year – the equivalent of 27 football fields per minute.
We must act together to stop deforestation and reinstate the land to its natural state, to provide habitats for the millions of displaced animals worldwide – and for the sake of our own future.
You can read more about where we’re planting trees in the 2019 Q3 B’n’Tree Grow Show. You’ll also discover which animals are enjoying the home that newly planted trees provide.
About The Author
Chris has been living and working with elephants in Thailand for five years. He’s incurably in love with these gentle pachyderms, and dreams of creating a planet where elephants have a chance to survive the 21st century in the wild.
He is the founder of Click A Tree, an initiative that makes sustainability simple – both for consumers and companies.
Click A Tree’s tourism brand, B’n’Tree, works with global booking platforms such as Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Skyscanner and Expedia, and plants trees for travelers – for free.
For every booking you begin on clickatree.com, one tree is planted. And that at absolutely no of cost to you.
Let Us Know What You Think
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Thanks for reading Tan’s success story. From Chris, from the Click A Tree team and from Tan and all the other animals benefitting from trees you help to plant, thank you!
Keep your eyes peeled for the next success story with Click A Tree.