27 September 2015
UK public urged to join Global March for Elephants and Rhinos
(London – 27 Sept 2015) UK citizens are being urged to take part in the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos next month, to highlight the urgent need for action to save these iconic but threatened species.
The second event of its kind, the Global March will take place on October 3rd and 4th in more than 100 cities around the world. Thousands of people and participating NGOs will march to draw attention to the ivory and rhino horn poaching crisis and call on governments to take joint action to save these animals from extinction in the wild.
Every year, upwards of 35,000 elephants and 1,200 rhinos are brutally killed by poachers. Their tusks and horns are hacked from their faces and illegally trafficked around the world, mainly to countries in Asia where demand is highest. They are part of the $20 billion (£13bn) per year illegal wildlife trade. The killing is highly organised by criminal gangs, often on a militarised scale, with the use of weaponry like AK-47s and helicopter gunships to mow down herds from the air. If the onslaught continues at the current rate, elephants and rhinos may face localised extinction in the wild within a generation. But this is not an inevitable scenario.
If governments take concerted action to ban the trade in ivory, reduced consumer demand will result in a fall in poaching, giving elephants a chance to recover their numbers and survive this wholesale massacre. Rhino horn trade is already banned but still takes place illegally. The poaching and trafficking crisis is global and involves many factors both in African range countries and international consumer markets, but banning the trade is a much-needed step that all countries can take now.
The Global March in London, organised by the grassroots group Action for Elephants UK, will end at No. 10 Downing Street, where advocates and NGO representatives will deliver a letter to David Cameron, calling on him to fulfil his election pledge for a total ban on ivory in the UK. The Conservative Party made the same pledge in 2010 but did not act on it. Since then, more than 170,000 elephants have been killed. By allowing ivory to be freely bought and sold within its borders, the UK is likely party to the ongoing poaching, trafficking and commercial trading of ivory. The so-called ‘legal’ trade provides a cover for illegal ivory to enter the market and feed demand – and the cycle continues.
Speaking about the crisis, Member of Parliament Zac Goldsmith said: “It is unbearable to imagine a world without wild elephants, but that is where we are heading, and fast. These thoughtful, highly intelligent creatures are being butchered to extinction simply to provide consumer trinkets – in a trade that fuels terrorism and misery. For every conceivable reason we must band together and do whatever needs to be done to stop this mindless business.”
Dominic Dyer, Policy Advisor at the Born Free Foundation, said: “Greed, corruption and ignorance is leading to the brutal, cruel destruction of Africa’s elephants and rhinos at a rate not witnessed in the history of human civilisation. Unless the international community takes urgent action to shut down the global ivory and rhino horn trade and provides more training, equipment and financial resources to African states to better protect their precious elephants and rhinos from poachers, we will be the last generation to see them in the wild.”
Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said: “None of us wants to consider a future without elephants and rhinos in the wild but sadly this could happen if we don’t all play a part in stopping the poaching and trade in ivory and rhino horn. This global march is a fantastic way for all of us to show our support for the protection of these magnificent species.”
“It would be devastating and criminal if elephants and rhinos were to become extinct in our lifetimes, but that may happen if nothing is done soon,” said Action for Elephants founder Maria Mossman. “We urge everyone who cares about their survival to join the march on October 3rd and demand action from their governments to save them.”
In the UK, marches will take place in Edinburgh, Exeter, Liverpool, and London. For more information, please visit www.march4elephantsandrhinos.org and London event page https://www.facebook.com/events/631447933623180/.
Notes to editors:
The London march starts at 10.45am in Cavendish Square W1 and will end at Whitehall around 1.30pm. A letter signed by NGOs, conservationists, MPs, and celebrities will be delivered to No. 10 at the end of the march by representatives from Action for Elephants UK, Born Free, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and International Fund for Animal Welfare.
We are honoured to have the attendance of Malawi High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr Kena Mphonda, who will make the first speech. He will talk about Malawi’s elephants and his government’s strengthening efforts to counter poaching and wildlife crime.
The other speakers are Nicky Campbell, TV and radio presenter; Dominic Dyer, Policy Advisor Born Free Foundation; and Philip Mansbridge, Director, UK – International Fund for Animal Welfare IFAW.
Who is organising the Global March and what are its aims?
The march is an international grassroots effort of people and groups coming together everywhere in the fight to end poaching, end demand and save elephants and rhinos from extinction in the wild. Its aims are to raise awareness of the urgency of the crisis and to pressure governments to take action.
Supporting NGOs include Born Free, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Elephants Without Borders, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization and The Rhino Orphanage.
Global March supporter Jane Goodall says, “We must join forces everywhere to stop the slaughter of elephants and rhinos. They feel pain, they know suffering. We must stop people from buying ivory.”
Action for Elephants UK: please contact Maria Mossman, email email@example.com
Born Free: please contact Dominic Dyer on 07876 596233 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
IFAW: please contact Clare Sterling on 020 7587 6708, mobile 07917 507717 or email email@example.com
For more information, see www.march4elephantsandrhinos.org/ and London event page https://www.facebook.com/events/631447933623180/.