How not to deal with menacing elephants

Half past five this morning the first signs appeared on local news channels. Some refused to believe it, some others decided to wait and watch. And some, like me, were still asleep.

By six o’clock it was confirmed: three elephants from a nearby forest were on a mad rampage in the very heart of our city. Two cows had been injured, add to that five people, and then one man dead—all within a couple of hours.

Certainly, the funny part was that—apart from saying some people awoke to find an elephant at their door—nobody knew which of the two neighbouring forests they had come from! And the outrageous part was that until about half past eight—almost three hours later—there was no sign of the authorities doing anything about it.

More often that once has it struck me as amusing that the media is far more punctual in, and I daresay capable of, getting to the news than the authorities are at solving problems.

The situation today, for instance, serves as an example for most of the points I wish to make clear. For starters, there is the delay in responding to the problem. It took them three hours—or, rather, the injury of two cows and five men and the death of one man—to get out of their bed and onto the streets.

And then the people, even those watching the news on their TV, let alone those on the streets near the elephants, knew very well what the next action was: tranquilise the animals. Continue reading