The true horror of ivory hunting in northern Botswana is exhibited by a recently released distressing photograph of a butchered elephant. The image shot by a drone is titled ‘Disconnection’ and displays the bloody corpse of a cruelly mutilated African elephant with its severed trunk discarded next to it and its tusks torn out.
As per reports, poachers use chainsaws to brutally cut off the trunk and tusks of the powerful animals and dump the rest of the body behind.
The hard-hitting images were captured by photographer Justin Sullivan from Cape Town, South Africa who was filming for a private company in Botswana when he overheard rangers mention the poached elephant.
The 28-year-old said, “They said an elephant had just been poached and I asked to be taken to the site. On arrival, I used a drone to capture the image.
He elaborated, “The image is called ‘Disconnection’ – the perspective of the image gives context to the situation which you would never be able to see from the ground. The high angle looking top down shows isolation and highlights not only the physical disconnection of the animal, but our disconnection from the situation. The image has drawn a lot of attention. People have obviously reacted with mixed feelings of anger and sadness, especially with the recent lift on the hunting ban in Botswana, but this photo has driven some constructive dialogue around how we can promote more sustainable elephant conversation and solve our current ecological crisis.”
Justin’s incredibly raw and powerful photograph has been nominated for the prestigious Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest, which will be decided later this year.
A leading conservation group cautioned of an increase in elephant poaching in parts of Botswana. According to a report released last week, around 400 were killed across the country between 2017 and 2018. The research conducted by Elephants Without Borders, that was published in the Current Biology scientific journal also claims that pressure will be increased on Botswana, which courted international controversy last month with its announcement of lifting the ban on hunting.
The report stated, “This evidence suggests that ivory poaching on the scale of hundreds of elephants per year has been occurring in northern Botswana since 2017 or possibly earlier.”
Botswana, home to the highest number of elephants in Africa, had once been a haven for the pachyderms with ‘little poaching reported’ in a 2014 survey. But the latest reports reveal that the number of corpses in the northern part of the country has risen by a shocking 593% between 2014 and 2018.