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Every year now, poachers are slaughtering up to 35,000 elephants out of Africa’s estimated 500,000 remaining elephants, which far exceeds the number and rate of elephants being born.

Today, an African elephant is killed every 30 minutes for its ivory, leaving behind devastated herds and defenceless baby orphans.

Ivory is so valuable because all across Asia — particularly in China — ivory figurines are given as gifts. Ivory chopsticks, hair ornaments, and jewellery are prized luxuries.


In a recent survey held in China, two thirds of respondents didn’t understand that elephants are killed for their ivory; many thought that tusks grow back like fingernails.

Elephants are highly intelligent, social creatures that live in matriarchal groups, and poaching has ravaged much of their social structure. The targets are the largest breeding males and the oldest females, who lead the elephant herds, as they have the largest tusks. Elephant populations are reduced to leaderless groups of traumatised animals huddling together.


We are Family

This video made by the Amboseli Trust for Elephants is a wonderful reminder that elephants form strong family bonds and that babies bring happiness all round. www.youtube.com/watch?v=m24WBnWQZAI


There is so much information out there, so much that is being done and so much that needs to be said on the topic of elephant poaching that it can be overwhelming. We know there needs to be more education. We know there needs to be more boots on the ground, technological support and intelligence, further funding, constant vigilance and more combined tourism/conservation efforts.

But a point that really struck home is this made by Dr John Hanks, former CEO of the WWF SA and Peace Parks Foundation, which reminds us of a very important fact that may get lost sometimes in the many active efforts to protect our wildlife:

“Campaigns to eliminate consumptive use of wildlife are well-meaning, but they ignore the realities of poverty in Africa, human-wildlife conflict and the underfunding of protected areas. Unless local people and their national governments want to conserve wildlife, it will not survive.”

All-round support is critical

The support of both governments and the communities that live in wildlife areas is crucial to the advancement of wildlife protection and conservation. Many safari operators, researchers and conservation-driven NGOs work with local communities in efforts to help decrease human-wildlife conflict, the key focus being to promote wildlife not only as a critical resource for the enjoyment of future generations, but one that can also present an income-earning opportunity through tourism and related activities.



Inspired to think differently

Andries Botha, a South African artist, has created more than 20 elephants from recycled materials, mainly driftwood and scrap wood for his global foundation Nomkhubulwane. His idea is to inspire people to think about changing how we live, to ask what will accelerate our commitment to sustainability - these elephants are catalysts for these conversations. http://andriesbotha.net/


French sculptor Pascal Chesneau was named the winner in the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s Wildlife Artist of the Year last year for his ‘vanishing’ elephant sculpture made from recycled metals, an incredibly evocative piece that stopped judges and guests in their tracks. What do you think?



The Zambezi Elephant Fund

Nicci and John Stevens are passionate about wildlife – you may know this already! But what they are more passionate about is protecting wildlife so, as clichéd as it sounds, their own grandchildren and those of that generation and beyond may also delight in the joy of animals like Africa’s precious elephants.

There is much that can and should be done – you know that, too – but you may also be interested to know that Nicci and John are currently working with a highly respected and dynamic group of people – conservationists, operators, government, NGO and local community representatives included – and have set up a fund for anti-poaching in the Zambezi Valley, northern Zimbabwe called the Zambezi Elephant Fund.

It’s an exciting and meaningful new development. And we’re looking forward to telling you all about it in our next communication, coming soon.

For now, we’ll leave you with this thought…


 


Contact us if you would like further information.

Best wishes from John, Nicci, Sarah and Laura



Contact Details
Phone: 263 4 490612 (Office hours 9am - 5pm
Zimbabwe UTC/GMT +2 hours)
Email: info@johnstevenssafaris.com
PO Box CH 84, Chisipite, Harare, Zimbabwe

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