The Elephant Conspiracy – Fiction drawn from hair-raising environmental horrors

Lord Peter Hain’s The Elephant Conspiracy may be fiction but many of its scenes mimic real-life poaching realities and monstrous criminal acts.
Chilling, horrifying, shocking and based on the realities of wildlife poaching. The Elephant Conspiracy brings an element of truth to fiction, and lays out the connection between corruption, crime and conservation.
This is according to Assistant Editor Marianne Thamm, host of Daily Maverick’s The Elephant Conspiracy webinar, with author Peter Hain on Thursday 8 December 2022.
In this sequel to his 2020 novel, The Rhino Conspiracy, Hain explains that he worked with wildlife experts to craft a novel that describes with grizzly detail what happens as elephants are poached and traded illicitly.
“It’s not packed with facts that people find hard to absorb, but you’ve picked them up as you go along,” says Hain, adding that the realities of what has happened and what is happening cannot be ignored.
Truth of the matter
“In 1800, there were 25 million elephants on the African continent. A century later, at the beginning of 1900, there were two million,” explains Hains.
This rapid decrease from 25 million to two million elephants in one century was predominantly driven by trophy hunting in the era. But, currently the numbers are down to 400,000 – and still dropping, as a hundred more are killed daily, explains Hain.
“The projection is that by 2040, they will be extinct,” says Hain, “These are real wildlife realities that we are having to grapple with.”
Hain says that’s the point of his book, to get people not to think of politics and wildlife as separate but connected.
“Our very future as humankind is dependent on our ecosystem and biodiversity and these precious animals that we’re killing off,” says Hain. “It’s all connected.”
Ivory links
The book discusses the links between politics, organised crime and wildlife that are seen today. “The problem is there’s a legalised trade in wildlife and then there’s the illegal criminal underworld linked to political corruption, and they blur into each other,” says Hain.
Elephants are poached across Africa for their tusks, which contain ivory, explains Hain. The ivory is seen as a status symbol, or ground down into powder and used as an aphrodisiac in areas of Asia, he adds.
Haines says rich elites believe in its properties and potency as an aphrodisiac, despite scientific proof that this is not the case, and instead it “sells like gold dust”.
“This is big business. It’s a big crime.”
Brutal poaching of ...
9 Dec 2022 10AM English South Africa News · Daily News

Other recent episodes

SANDF to guard four Eskom power plants under threat of sabotage and vandalism

Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya confirmed to Daily Maverick that President Cyril Ramaphosa had authorised the deployment of South African Defence Force troops ‘in response to the growing threat of sabotage, theft, vandalism and corruption at Eskom power stations’. Following requests by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin…
18 Dec 2022 1PM 3 min

Canadian company exploring for oil in Namibia in credibility battle

ReconAfrica, a start-up oil exploration company with interests in Namibia and Botswana, is fighting for survival as its auditors resign, a cash crunch looms and a New York court battle with disgruntled investors comes to a head. Descending upon Namibia’s environmentally sensitive Kavango East region in 2015 was the easy…
15 Dec 2022 2PM 18 min

Water scarcity in Western Cape towns persists despite recent heavy rains

Despite recent heavy rains, which caused flooding in parts of the Western Cape, some towns in the province are still at risk of running out of water. The head of the Western Cape Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), Ntombizanele Bila-Mupariwa, on Thursday said dam levels within the Western Cape…
15 Dec 2022 1PM 6 min