Humans are empathic. And we should always try our very best to see the world through the eyes of others before we judge them – but sometimes it's not easy...
... especially when you read that elephant hunting is likely to begin again in Botswana
Empathy is one of the most significant subjects we cover on How to control your elephant.
Empathy is the least used customer service skill, yet it can be the most effective. It's the least used because when we are experiencing a negative emotional situation, our instinctive fight/flight reactions can take over; instantly shutting down our ability to think empathically.
I recently read that the government of Botswana is to reopen bids for licences to hunt elephants. They claim Botswana is overpopulated with elephants and that killing a few won't harm the elephant population.
On first reading this news, my fight/flight centre lit up. I felt angry, and my thoughts towards those agreeing to this were unprintable. However, having taken a breath and read about it more, my empathic side kicked in.
They say that local communities in Botswana welcome the murdering (I can't call it hunting) of a few elephants. Marauding elephants invade villages located near wildlife reserves, knocking down fences, destroying crops, and at times killing people.
My empathic mind can imagine what it must be like to be woken up in the middle of the night by a herd of hungry elephants trampling and destroying your crops, rendering you starving for the months ahead. Sometimes we all need to see the world through the eyes of others before we seek to judge them.
It still doesn’t mean that I agree with the lifting of the ban. Empathy does not mean agree. It means sensing and acknowledging how someone else feels. It can help you put your thoughts into a clearer more human perspective.
Even if I dig very deep, I can find no empathy for a hunter with a gun finding enjoyment in murdering an elephant. After all, with a hunting rifle, you can hardly miss a 3-ton elephant, even at 300m. Not much skill in that is there?
I am an elephant-adopter through the wonderful David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. I issue a challenge to elephant hunters. Please help me to see things from your point of view so that I may at least try to empathise. I promise to be open-minded.
And in return, if you ever try to put a bullet in my adopted elephant, I trust you will see the world through my eyes before you pull the trigger.