3.12.13. Updated 13.12.13
Africa’s elephants are facing probably the most serious crisis for nearly 30 years.
I thought it was bad when we reported up to 30,000 a year being killed for their ivory.
However, it seems to be even worse. Our latest calculations indicate that as many as 80,000 elephants have perished since January 2012 (see www.bloodyivory.org)
Born Free is doing what it can! We have provided funding to L’Equipe des Elephants in Burkina Faso (the last stronghold for elephants in West Africa). We have agreed emergency funding to the Babile Elephant Sanctuary (a massive 6,900 square kilometres of land to the east of Ethiopia).
But we can only do so much – even with the fantastic generosity of our supporters round the world.
We need Governments to step up and, in some respects, they have started to do so.
The Government of Gabon has destroyed its ivory stockpile and has announced a zero-tolerance approach to poaching. Kenya Wildlife Service rangers put their lives on the line daily to protect the herds. The Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority is putting in new measures to tackle the situation. The US Government has announced $10 million for elephants under an Executive Order from the President. The Clinton Global Initiative, together with a number of African Presidents, has called for a moratorium on all domestic ivory sales….
Now it is the UK’s turn – so read on and find out how you can help ensure the UK’s Government takes action!
On the 13th February, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary will host a High Level Meeting on Illegal Wildlife Trade. It will be our chance, as a nation, to step up and be counted.
And my request to our elected leaders is simple: Give Africa the means to do the job, to defeat poaching and disrupt and destroy the bloody ivory trade.
Make no mistake about it: Africa is up to the task. All 38 African Elephant range States – the countries that still have wild elephants – have agreed to The African Elephant Action Plan. It’s a blue print for elephant conservation, environmental protection and wildlife law enforcement. We have never seen such unity of purpose nor such a high degree of commitment.
In my 25 years working on ivory trade issues this, for me, is the best and only plan that could take back the initiative from the poachers and organised crime; that could halt the decimation of a species; that could bring security to some of the world’s most remote and fragile communities; and that could bring the hope to the killing fields.
But it won’t happen without a major commitment – and that is what the UK can deliver!
Over the next decade, the UK has decided that it will spend more than £100,000,000,000 (yes, one hundred billion pounds) on Overseas Development and I applaud that 100%.
However, right now we need to commit just a tiny fraction of that to elephants, to habitats and to rural security so that, in partnership with African nations, we can end the scourge of poaching and bring hope where there is despair.
As I say, Born Free will always do what it can but we need much more.
The Government needs to know that you and your MP support this agenda and that is why I am asking you to write a letter, today, to your MP, asking him or her to support EDM 773 (that is Early Day Motion 773). You can read the text of the EDM here.
If you would like to know how you can contact your MP, you can find out here
Some MPs are not eligible to sign EDMs – Ministers and those on the respective Front Benches, for example. But even so they can express their support for the intention of the EDM and use their positions of influence to ensure that the Prime Minister is crystal clear on the matter.
Some MPs may tell you that they are reluctant to sign EDMs, considering them a waste of Parliamentary time. Well, in truth sometimes they are – but it depends on the matter being raised. This is a matter of life and death, rangers, citizens, yes, even poachers – not to mention tens of thousands of elephants – are losing their lives. Under the circumstances, is an MP’s signature too much to ask for?
I cannot imagine that there is a single MP who does not agree with the proposition contained in the EDM – I would be shocked if that were the case.
Please write to the UK Minister responsible for wildlife trade issues, Lord De Mauley. Ask him to use the opportunity of the High Level Meeting on 13th February on Illegal Wildlife Trade to commit a small portion of the funds set aside for Overseas Development, to the African Elephant Action Plan. Not only does the AEAP present the best chance yet of saving Africa’s elephants but the knock-on benefits to the tourist industry and local communities will also benefit overseas development.
Lord De Mauley
Minister for Wildlife Trade
House of Commons
Start your letter ‘Dear Minister’ and sign off ‘Yours sincerely’
So my request is very simple: Contact your MP and ask them to sign EDM 773 or write to the Minister responsible for trade issues. By so doing ensure that the Government feels empowered and emboldened to make a mighty commitment in a few months’ time to helping Africa rise to the challenge. Let’s make the forests, plains and savannahs safe once more for elephants and, indeed, for all life. Let’s end the poaching crisis and the bloody ivory trade once and for all.
Please don’t delay, don’t put this off until later. Please do this for me now.
Together, we can make a difference!