Bloodsport and elephant affairs

2008-03-12 00:00

Who do these overweight grey lumps think they are, twitching their tails and passing wind?

An open letter to Marthinus van Schalkwyk, minister of blood sports and pachydermal affairs:

Dear Comrade Marthinus,

Congratulations. It’s about time someone in the government plucked up the courage to put an end to these damn elephants. Who do they think they are, lumbering around the countryside knocking down trees and waving their trunks about as if they owned the place?

I don’t know about you, but the last time I went to a game reserve Brenda and I hardly saw any animals at all.

Every time we spotted something interesting, an elephant would come up and block our view.

Apart from the Swedes, I can’t think of anyone who would be interested in spending three hours staring at an overweight grey lump that does little more than twitch its tail, pass wind and defecate mightily.

Apparently an elephant never forgets. That can’t be good. I am sure you will agree, Cde Minister, especially given your history, that it is only through the act of forgetting that we manage to retain our sanity.

My good friend Ted and I would like to help you rid this great country of these big fat troublemakers once and for all. I am sure you are already swamped with offers, but let me warn you that there are a lot of cowboys out there who are passing themselves off as experts in the pest control business.

Sure, rocket-propelled grenades and Stinger missiles will get the job done, but this is not Angola. By the time these mavericks are finished there wouldn’t be enough left over to make any kind of elephant-based curio.

After analysing a variety of methods we have come to the conclusion that Japanese scientists have the right idea.

The harpoon as a research tool has proved tremendously successful in the Southern Ocean and there is no reason to think the Kruger Park will be any different. After all, what are elephants if not big-eared walking whales?

Our harpoon can be fired from a swivel mount that we have welded on to the back of Ted’s bakkie. But it does more than just swivel. It also tilts.

This means that we can bag an elephant even if it tries to escape by hiding up a tree. I intend patenting Trovato’s Swivel ‘n’ Tilt Big Mammal Killer so don’t think you can steal our idea. Just kidding. I know you are an honourable man.

The Japs use explosive charges to knock the wind out of a whale’s sails, but we felt it would be more sporting if we let the elephant run around a bit until he was tired enough for us to winch him in. Fortunately Ted is a fine driver and should be able to handle being pulled through the bush at 350 km/h.

Another advantage of not blowing them up is that you can utilise every bit of the brutes. Just think how popular you will be when you have your cabinet colleagues over for a braai and they find an elephant impaled on a sharpened telephone pole being slowly turned on a bed of red-hot coals.

They wouldn’t dare call you Smarty von Skunkbroek behind your back after that.

Our delightful new friends, the Chinese, would be only too happy to receive regular shipments of dried elephant testicles to help upsize their little oriental willies.

Here’s another idea for free. You could start a sideline business called Ouma’s Tusks. There are plenty of old people in this country who would love to have a set of ivory dentures.

A small cash donation should arrive at your offices in the next few days. Please do not see this as a bribe. It is merely a token of our appreciation for what you are doing to rid South Africa of creatures that exploit our natural resources and contribute nothing to the war against crime.

Yours,

Ben Trovato.

• Ben is unwell this week. Today’s column first appeared this time last year.

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