Call to Action

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Last week’s elephant poaching tragedy in Tsavo has received widespread global media coverage.  In response, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has announced the establishment of a commission to explore ways in which the various government agencies in Kenya could collaborate to strengthen their efforts. He said that security agencies “must treat the emerging poaching threat as part of the insecurity griping the country and not a wildlife issue to be addressed solely by the Kenya Wildlife Service.” (emerging poaching threat?)  In addition, he has called upon the international community to help curb the illegal ivory trade by increasing policing and prosecution efforts.

Meanwhile, much of the international community is awaiting the CITES meeting in Bangkok  March 3 – 14, 2013 to see “what happens” or what plan will be adopted. (Thailand has the world’s largest unregulated ivory market.)

Commissions and meetings are by their very nature slow and lumbering, rarely igniting immediate and effective action.  But time is running out. For Africa at-large, the elephant body count in 2012 is greater than it was in 2011.  Experts predict at this rate wild elephants in Africa could be extinct in 15 years.  The poaching rate in Central Africa may well eliminate all wild elephants in that region even sooner.

Here is something you can do right now that will help.  Join the World Wildlife Fund‘s movement to call upon Thailand to ban ivory trade. While the world is watching during the CITES meeting, WWF wants to present 1 million signatures to Prime Minister Shinawatra, asking her to do the right thing in her own backyard. Thailand permits the sale of items made from indigenous ivory. Because the market is unregulated, much of the poached ivory from Africa finds its way to Bangkok and is sold in markets there as “Thai” ivory. Drawing attention to this may be the most compelling and effective near term consequence of the CITES meeting.  Be a part of that action!