Keeping the March Alive
On 4th October the DSWT joined people across the globe in the March for Elephants. The date marked the first anniversary of the iworry International March for Elephants, a global movement that witnessed thousands of people taking to the streets to call for greater protection for these iconic animals. To urge world leaders to make the illicit ivory trade a priority issue and to impose a full international ban on all ivory sales, with coinciding domestic bans.
Since the first march we have seen some positive developments, with the USA destroying 6 tonnes of ivory, China destroying 6.1 tonnes and the issue of illicit wildlife trade, which includes the ivory trade, being discussed at the highest levels of government. There have been many commitments made, which is encouraging, however greater direct action is needed, as was witnessed recently in New Jersey and New York, which implemented ivory trade bans.
At a field level, elephants are still being targeted for their tusks and front line organisations are working tirelessly to tackle elephant ivory poaching. In Kenya, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust continues to witness the impact of ivory poaching on a daily basis. None more so than through the Orphans’ Project, which has seen the rescue of too many ivory orphans, their mother’s killed for their ivory.
So on 4th October our elephant keepers marched alongside orphaned elephants, at our Nairobi Nursery and at our reintegration centre in Ithumba. Walking together under the message ‘Fighting for their Lives’. Globally, people marched in over 120 cities, in a show of solidarity and support for elephants, and rhinos, urging the wider public and government leaders to truly take note of what is happening. With that, the pressing need for tangible action today to save these species, through greater investment in field level security, enhanced border controls to stem the illegal flow of ivory and rhino horn, greater intelligence gathering and sharing between NGOs and government bodies and an increased focus on educating and informing ivory consumer countries as to the truth behind the ivory and rhino horn trades – which are claiming the life of an elephant every fifteen minutes and a rhino every 9 hours.
We must keep the public power and pressure created by the Marches alive and drive it forward for the future of elephants, rhinos and so many other endangered wild species.
Relive the DSWT’s March for Elephants by watching this film as we walk together with the elephant orphans for whom we have been able to offer a second chance and join the campaign for elephants at http://www.iworry.org