The Good Friday Elephant

Wed, 2008-07-02 12:02 by Jan

The Good Friday Elephant

By Web Exclusive | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Apr 13, 2007

The Victoria Falls are one of Africa's greatest natural wonders. But as tourism and political instability change the face of the region, the thundering waters are becoming a treacherous spot for the local pachyderms.

They say an elephant never forgets. But the one who tried to cross the Zambezi on Good Friday would have had to be very old to remember the last time he saw the river running this high. And as he picked his way across from Zimbabwe, swimming from island to island along an ancient elephant corridor, a changed world was waiting on the Zambia side of the border as well: a sprawling five-star hotel along the banks in the national park. With poachers and hunters at his back, and tourists sipping sundowners ahead, the elephant foundered and was washed downstream, plunging over the 130-meter-high (about 430 feet) Victoria Falls, Africa's mightiest cataract. He wouldn't have had a chance of survival.

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