The Year We Must Save the Elephants — Two Ways to Join the Cause Now
One Planet One Future joins the Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s Virtual Marathon + Our Top 5 Questions with the co-founder of the Big Life Foundation
Elephants have been under attack and threatened by extinction for years. An elephant is killed, essentially, every 15 minutes. If that rate continues, elephants could be extinct by the year 2025. They’re not alone; Rhinoceros, gorillas, zebras… there are at least 20 species indigenous to Africa currently listed as endangered. It is essential not another year goes by without greater protection for these animals.
Anne de Carbuccia has worked extensively in Africa, and these animals are incredibly dear to our Foundation. Our One Planet One Future team has committed to a virtual marathon alongside the Ol Pejeta Conservancy for 2018, running (and hiking, and swimming, and climbing) our way through 1245kms — the distance between all the conservancies in Africa — as we fundraise to support African wildlife rangers. Rangers work around the clock to protect animals that would otherwise be poached, often at the risk of their own lives. Our goal is $2000 by December 2018. Join us in supporting these earth protectors by donating to our campaign here.
Another courageous organization, the Big Life Foundation dedicates itself to providing endangered species with the protection they require, and to educating the public about how soon we stand to lose these majestic creatures. Tom Hill, the co-founder of the Big Life Foundation, was able to answer our Top 5 Questions, and share why he is committed to the work that he does.
1How long have you been working with Big Life, and how did you get started?
Richard Bonham and I began working together here in 1996 when he asked me to help him build up a conservation organization to stabilize and sustain the greater Amboseli-Kilimanjaro ecosystem, beginning with Mbirikani Group Ranch, the 300,000-acre Maasai communal land we both now live on. Our conservation organization today operates on well over 2 million acres of this ecosystem.
I am, as a result, a co-founder of Big Life Foundation (BLF) which in the early days was known as Maasailand Preservation Trust (MPT).
2 What is something you wish more people knew about African Elephants?
I want to make sure people know that elephants living in Africa are still highly threatened and being poached as before despite the encouraging news that China is beginning to wind down its ivory trade. This has not impacted what is happening on the ground in Africa and what China is hopefully winding down appears to be winding up at the same time in Viet Nam.
So, to those charitable people around the world who support our work and the work of many others on keeping elephants alive in the African wilderness, I would like to say, “Please don’t reduce your support, thinking that the ivory crisis has been solved, it has not and will not be solved, if at all, for many years to come.”
3 How can someone become more involved with protecting African Elephants, and African wildlife in general?
Provide financial support to those carefully-selected organizations that are doing the work on the ground here so the funds go directly to the implementers and therefore 100% of your money, or as close to that percentage as possible, goes directly “into the ground, into the work itself.”
4 What’s your most profound memory of your work?
Seeing an injured elephant saved by a vet or a baby calf just born.
5 Who or what inspires you?
The simple idea that these great mammals have every bit as much right to life as the homo sapien mammal. Living with them on a daily basis is a great and rare privilege as we otherwise approach what could be the end of the mammalian age in our lifetimes.
Vanity is the only reason one would kill an elephant. We do not eat them or use their parts for any necessary medicinal purposes. Killing for pleasure or profit — ‘trophy hunting’ — is directly responsible for the low population levels of elephants. We are so grateful to the organizations that protect these majestic, intelligent creatures. If you are able, begin your new year by supporting them as they continue to fight the good fight.
Donate to the OPOF Team’s campaign with Ol Pejeta here.
Donate to the Big Life Foundation’s essential work protecting African elephants here.
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One Planet One Future is a 501(c)3 arts nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about climate change and environmental destruction. They host exhibitions around the world and have permanent Art Spaces in NYC and Milan. Get involved.
- Learn more and support the Big Life Foundation: https://biglife.org/
- Learn more and support the Ol Pejeta Conservancy: http://www.olpejetaconservancy.org/
- Track One Planet One Future’s progress on our Virtual Marathon: https://olpejeta.secure.force.com/virtualmarathonrunners/
- Donate to One Planet One Future’s campaign to support African Wildlife Rangers: https://donate.olpejetaconservancy.org/fundraisers/oneplanetonefuture
- Learn more about endangered species: http://www.iucnredlist.org/about/introduction