OOOH did I mention that I was at The House of Lords last night? For a VIP event. Invited by LORD Tim Clement Jones no less – to a reception on African Elephant Conservation with Space For Giants. Right up my street although I have to say I tend to avoid handing out my business card as a blogger at important elephant events because nobody is very impressed with the fact that I’ve coloured them in.
So. The issue is we are back to the basic question of how do we stop elephants from being murdered for their ivory? I don’t think we all quite appreciate how urgent this issue is. ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND AFRICAN ELEPHANTS HAVE BEEN KILLED ACROSS THE CONTINENT IN THE LAST THREE YEARS ALONE. This is now a very serious state of affairs. Desperate even and if we want our children’s children to still be able to share the planet with these majestic creatures then we have to do something very fast.
This was the message that Dr Max Graham, the rather gorgeous founder of Space For Giants told us on the night (sorry was so in awe that I forgot to take a photo). They have, in a very short space of time nearly achieved their target of a 90% reduction in the illegal killing of elephants (they are at 87%) in Northern Kenya, but that is not the case for the rest of the country. So what are they doing differently? They have focused on the basics and created a new anti-poaching team. They work on the ground with the locals, building community education and relationships with the judiciary. They have secured nearly 60,000 acres of new land for them and whilst the progress is encouraging, there is much more to do.
He introduced us to their new adoption campaign and also discussed the partnership with Saracens “Stand Your Ground, Stop The Killing” (I had wondered why there were a few very large people in the room) and with Microsoft, as well as their plans for a Giants Club – a meeting of movers and shakers from the major mining corporations in Africa including CEO’s, executives and African leaders who can all get behind the cause so that a real difference can be made.
Essentially the key is to get the word out and get people involved. Any other ideas gratefully received. Personally I think linking up bloggers across the world to post updates and name and shame the poachers might help – who is funding this killing? Apart from you know who?