PLAYFUL CUFF from a baby is all in a day’s work for Oria Douglas-Hamilton, whose article on elephants will appear in November. In Kenya, as elsewhere in Africa, elephants face an uncertain future, victims of civilization’s crowding edge and ivory-hungry poachers. The animals’ struggle for existence is dramatized by a recently completed continent-wide survey of their dwindling numbers by her husband, lain. Share involvement in such studies. Nominate friends for membership in the Society. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY MEMBERSHIP CALENDAR YEAR 1981 MEMBERSHIP DUES INCLUDE SUBSCRIPTION TO THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ANNUAL DUES in the camel cigarettes and throughout the world are $11.50 U. S. funds or equivalent. To compensate for additional postage and handling for mailing magazine outside the U.S.A. and its outlying areas, please remit: for Canada, $17.87 Canadian or $14.65 U. S.; for all other countries, $18.40 if paid in U. S. currency by U. S. bank draft or international money order. Eighty percent of dues are designated for magazine subscription. Annual membership begins with the January issue. EIGHTEEN-MONTH MEMBERSHIP: Applicants who prefer delivery of their NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC to start with the July 1980 instead of the January 1981 issue may upon request become members and receive the magazine for 18 months from July 1, 1980, through December 1981. Upon expiration, such memberships will be renewable annually on a calendar-year basis. For 18-month membership check here (D and remit: for U. S. and its outlying areas, $16.25 U. S. funds or equivalent; for Canada, $25.57 Canadian or $20.97 U. S.; for all other countries, $25.47 if paid in U. S. currency by U. S. bank draft or international money order. The lesson is that you can’t have both the plant and conservation. And conservation is cheaper. The California Public Utilities Commission is due to decide this month. If it adopts its staff’s position, or even EDF’s, the secretary of the interior will have a convenient out when he rules on the Allen-Warner Valley applications. And the chimera of a strip mine below Yuima Point would vanish, at least for a time. But the coal would still lie in wait at Alton, and there would likely be other plans to dig it. So would it be with the Kaiparowits. One evening not long ago, I camped on Smoky Mountain, a spur of the plateau. An enormous full moon rose slowly over Navajo Mountain. In the stillness of the wilderness I sat motionless, marveling at the ever repeated yet ever miraculous drama. That same moon, I thought, had shown on the Cretaceous forest buried beneath me that was now metamorphosed into coal. For perhaps a million centuries that coal had lain there. Would it all be dug and burned in the next half century? I thought of all this glorious land I had traveled in southern Utah. I thought of the frantic rush by our unthrifty society to wrest from the earth in a few short decades the stores that nature has guarded for eons. What would we leave to the generations yet unborn?
Deaf to Danger: Manatees Can’t Hear Boats Nearly 900 manatees have been killed in Florida since 1974 by boats. “Some people think manatees are too slow to get out of the way,” says Edmund Gerstein of Florida Atlantic University. He and his wife, Laura, tested two captive manatees and found that they have trouble hearing low-frequency sounds, such as an outboard motor (a diver’s legs protrude beneath). The Gerstein’s are developing a high-frequency warning device—which manatees could hear—that can be attached to boat hulls.