Are Elephants Beautiful?

The Historical Sources of a Hybrid Environmental Aesthetics at Mole National Park, Ghana

Jonathan Roberts


Elephants have long been proverbial symbols of political power in Ghana, but over the past 100 years a hybrid environmental aesthetic has emerged amongst people who live next to wild spaces, one that combines notions of a positive aesthetic with a sense of culture and historicity. Using interviews and archival material, this article asks how a human reverence for wild spaces emerged. It also traces the historical relationship between humans and animals in and around Mole National Park during the time of the Gonja Kingdom, Akan ivory trade, colonial tsetse fly control regime, the establishment of the game reserve, and in the new era of ecotourism.

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