August 1, 2018 12:00 PM NPT
Photo Courtesy: Agencies
About 201,000 elephants have been poached in the past six years.
In the past century the population plunged from five million elephants to fewer than 500,000.
Yet the animals, among the noblest on the planet, are vital for the environment, spreading plant seeds, digging for water which helps other species and modifying landscapes by uprooting trees.
Charity founder Virginia McKenna, 87, who starred in the hit 1966 movie Born Free, said: “Elephants are living treasures.
“Nature’s gardeners. Nature’s great teachers. Tragically some people don’t give a damn. We must challenge the bloody ivory trade with all our might.
“We must bring shame on those who would condone it.
“It’s time to be kind.”
She urged the public to support Born Free’ campaign to end the ivory trade by signing its online petition and donating funds to support its work with elephants in Cameroon, Ethiopia and Kenya.
Born Free president Will Travers said: “We have witnessed first-hand the brutal aftermath of poaching and the pressure that the species is under.
“Steps are finally being taken in the right direction – China officially closed its domestic ivory market back in 2017, the US has taken resolute action, the majority of Africa countries are calling for the trade to end and the UK Government plans to end almost all domestic ivory trade by October 2018.
“However, there is still a great deal more to be done.
“Just two years ago I stood on the edge of Nairobi National Park in Kenya and watched 105 tons of ivory burn.
“Eleven towering pyres of tusks from an estimated 10,000 elephants were ceremoniously torched to send a defiant message to the world that – as far as Kenya was concerned – elephants are worth more alive.
“While there is still a demand, poachers, and the criminal networks that support them, will continue to destroy a symbol of all that is wild and free.”