The Global March for elephants and Rhinos, Nairobi Chapter was EPIC! We had rangers, students, corporates, bikers, cyclists, roller bladers, vuvuzelas, Kenyan flags, placards and banners reading “Save the Elephants” “Secure their Future” and “I am Justice for Wildlife, Are You?”
Undoubtedly we have made amazing strides in the path to get justice for elephants and rhinos.
Still, the fight is not over yet to help Kenya create a spill-over effect in our neighbouring countries, and to share our awareness with China and Vietnam.
It is all too true that if we and our neighbours remain source and transit nations for ivory, and if and if we continue to vilify the Chinese and Vietnamese instead of understanding the intricacies of the trade, we will lose the battle to save our elephants and rhinos.
As Kenyans and as Africans, we are the key to ending the crisis within our own borders; we also have the power to create an army of Chinese to wage war against the trade in their countries.
As we march forward together as global partners, let us join hands as individuals and governments to work with our neighbours, and the destination countries for wildlife products such to truly end this heinous trade.
Together we can win, together, we can secure a future for elephants and rhinos.
We are proud that STE’s research has made the elephants of Samburu are one of the best-studied elephant populations in the world, and that we know every elephant by face. Cutting-edge scientific insight is ammunition in the battle against the current surge in ivory poaching. Our Elephant Crisis Fund is supporting 37 of the most effective global partners working on 50 projects to stop the poaching, stop the trafficking and stop the demand for ivory.
We’ve seen great strides on the anti-poaching front. Dzanga Zhanga in the Central African Republic is one example. The forest elephants that live there are shy, but they do come out into this beautiful bay to drink. In 2013 Janjaweed Militia attacked this site, and sprayed these elephants with rocketpropelled grenades. Though hope seemed lost, we knew we could help. Within 24hrs we gave emergency funds to our partners on the ground, and two years on, the population has returned to good health.
In Kenya, there was a time (believe it or not!) when traffickers would get off Scott free for their crimes. Many courtrooms decided no one was watching, and gave slap on the wrist fines to smugglers. Even as we commend the Cabinet Secretary for pushing through a game changing law in2013 to end this, Save the Elephants has been supporting Paula and her team at WLD to keep eyes in the courtroom, so that kingpins like Feizal Ali Mohammed do not get away with their crimes.
On the China front, what are we doing? I should start by saying what we’re not doing. We’re not pointing fingers at the whole nation. Only a tiny proportion of Chinese buy ivory. Almost all the Chinese I met when I was in China and in Hong Kong, and all those who have visited us in Samburu quickly understand about the issue, and are fully compassionate.
We don’t want an enemy. We want a friend. A leader. We have seen China take leadership in an immense way, by pledging to ban all domestic ivory sales, just last week. We can probably say that we have a leader!
To keep them on this path, we need to share awareness about the situation as fast as possible, so that they can take action to save elephants. We do this by putting giant public service announcements with celebrities like Yao Ming and Li Bingbing across China.
This is how you can join forces with those willing to help us from the inside.
For our readers and supporters, you can help too. You can start up conversations with friends to get them to understand the urgency of getting justice for wildlife. There is hope if we work together. And we have to pass this test, because the future of wildlife is in all our hands.
I am justice for wildlife. You are too.