Posts Tagged ‘somalia’

Never underestimate the wisdom of the pachyderm. Here’s one that would make an undetectable spy.

Jeffrey Gettleman writes at the NY Times, “Elephant experts in Kenya were excited recently by some rare good news: An elephant had crossed into Somalia — and survived.

“Somalia, one of the world’s most war-torn nations, used to be home to thousands of elephants, but they were wiped out during the 1980s and ’90s as the country descended into chaos.

“For the first time in decades, researchers said, there is now anecdotal evidence that a small elephant population still exists in Somalia, a finding based on the unusual migration of one big bull named Morgan who journeyed stealthily across the Kenya-Somalia border, most likely to look for a mate.

“Fitted with a GPS tracking collar, Morgan was found to have traveled more than 130 miles, demonstrating an uncanny sense of direction — and self-preservation. He moved mostly by night. During the day, he rested in thick bush.

“ ‘This is extreme behavior adapted to survive the worst known predator on Earth: man,’ said Iain Douglas-Hamilton, one of the scientists closely monitoring Morgan. ‘His behavior was a bit like an S.A.S. patrol: Hide by day, keep out of sight and, at night, travel fast,’ he added, referring to the British special forces. …

“He surmised that Morgan, who is in his mid-30s, had made a similar journey years ago and that a faint memory of the route was lodged somewhere deep in his elephant brain.” More here.

As you no doubt learned in childhood: Elephants never forget.

Photo: Save the Elephants, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Morgan, a male bull in his 30s, was fitted with a tracking collar in Kenya’s coastal Tana River delta around December.

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I liked this multicultural story by Fernanda Santos in the NY Times. It demonstrates that people from different cultures can adapt to one another’s foods and customs very nicely in the U.S. melting pot.

It is all happening at the Ranch Market in Phoenix.

“Tortillas are a Mexican staple of transnational appeal here, bridging divisions carved by Arizona’s tough stance on immigration and reaching far beyond Latin American borders.

“The factory, at the Ranch Market store on North 16th Street, employs a pair of Iraqi refugees to whom flour tortillas have become a replacement for the flat bread known as khubz. There are also Cubans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans and, of course, Mexicans manning the machines like the rounder, which turns the masa into balls that are then pressed and cooked in 500-degree ovens at a rate of eight dozen disks a minute.

“Refugees from Somalia buy Ranch Market tortillas as a substitute for a pancake-like bread called canjeelo. Koreans have taken to using them to wrap pieces of spicy barbecued pork, like a taco. Foodies like them because they are the closest thing to an authentic tortilla that they can find at a supermarket here.”

Read more here.

Photograph: Joshua Lott for The New York Times
The Ranch Market on North 16th Street in Phoenix churns out eight dozen tortillas a minute, cooked in 500-degree ovens.

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