Thousands of people are today staging demonstrations at fifteen official cities around the world urging Governments to take action in protecting wild elephants from extinction due to the poaching crisis and trade in ivory.
Marking World Animal Day, it is the first and single largest public demonstration of support for the species organised through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s advocacy and awareness campaign, iworry. Up to 1 million are expected to join in with the event around the world to raise awareness of the threat posed by the ivory trade to elephants, entire eco-systems and to global security.
An estimated 36,000 elephants are slaughtered every year in Africa by the trade in ivory, amounting to one elephant killed every 15 minutes. Without international action, at this current rate there could be no elephants left in the wild by 2025. Despite an international ban on trade in ivory, elephant poaching is on the rise, driven by a demand for ivory in Asia and other markets, including the USA, where ownership is seen as a sign of wealth and status.
Founder of the DSWT, Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE, voices her concerns, “Every life lost to the trade in ivory is a scandal. Elephant’s extinction would not only bring heartbreak, but it will have a devastating impact on the wider environment and on millions of livelihoods dependent wildlife tourism. We urgently need to act now to protect the elephants and those that protect them to prevent a wider environmental and economic catastrophe.”
In Nairobi, in deference to the people of Kenya affected by the tragic events at the Westgate Mall a vigil for the people of Kenya and those affected by recent events, along with the elephants that are losing their lives daily to poaching, was held instead.
Well known faces supporting the today’s March include Model Christie Brinkley, True Blood Star Kristin Bauer van Straten and Sex and the City Star Kristin Davis who says, “We are marching to use our voices to bring attention to the fact that elephants in the wild will be gone in 12 years unless we act now.”
Key conservation figures including National Geographic’s Bryan Christy, Deputy Director of the Kenyan Wildlife Service Dr Patrick Omondi , CEO of Wildlife Direct, Paula Kahumbu, Kenyans United Against Poaching, EIA, Born Free, IFAW and Care for the Wild amongst many others.
A special thanks must be given to the global public for making the International March for Elephants a success, and from Nairobi many thanks go to all of those who helped plan the intended Nairobi March and to those who continued to support the Nairobi vigil instead, with gratitude to OneWay who helped print tshirts for the event and to Aquamist for providing water on the day.
For further information on the International March for Elephants or to show your support, visit www.iworry.org