Today is World Elephant Day, a global event dedicated to raising awareness about the crisis these animals face at the hands of poachers and the illegal wildlife trade.
An estimated 96 elephants die every day for their ivory. That's four elephants every hour.
As WildAid celebrates this annual call to action, we'd like to share a music video project by four talented African artists who are using their celebrity for good: Emmanual Jal, Vanessa Mdee, Juliani and Syssi Managa.
Poaching in Tanzania is threatening to undermine the East African nation’s growing tourism economy, one otherwise poised to add hundreds of thousands of jobs in the coming years.
Adelham Meru, Tanzania’s Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, warns that poaching could affect as many as 3.8 million tourism jobs across Africa, including guides, drivers, and hotel and restaurant staff.
Tanzania, like many African nations, has been hard hit by poaching over the past decade. Last year a survey revealed that the country had lost more than half its elephants, with populations declining from 110,000 in 2009 to fewer than 44,000. Tanzania's iconic giraffes, the country's national symbol, have also suffered, as has much of its other wildlife.
While poachers are profiting from these beloved species, tourism could suffer. Meru said Tanzania has 700,000 tourism-related jobs and predicts that number could double, but only if "the ongoing rampant killings of wildlife" stops. "If the current situation will remain unattended, these jobs would vanish in air," he said[.]
Hong Kong lawmaker Elizabeth Quat, a leading voice for dismantling one of the world's biggest commercial ivory markets, is currently in Africa to engage in field studies and talks with officials in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. This is Quat’s second visit to Africa in less than a year at the invitation of WildAid and partner conservation groups. On this trip, she recently met with Richard Bonham, head of the conservation group Big Life Foundation founded by photographer Nick Brandt, to discuss the elephant and rhino poaching crisis embroiling the continent.
Upon arriving in Kenya, Quat was informed about the latest brazen poaching incident: On the morning of July 28, a patrol team found the bodies of five poached elephants — a mother and four offspring — in Tsavo West National Park. Two suspects have since been arrested.
WildAid is proud to be an NGO member of the new United States Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, announced by the White House on Wednesday.
This partnership has three primary objectives:
Raise the public’s awareness of the scope of the wildlife trafficking crisis, including the illegal trade’s devastating impact on elephants, rhinos, tigers and other irreplaceable species, and illegal traffickers’ role in funding global corruption and terrorism;
Reduce consumer demand for wildlife and wildlife products (WildAid’s core organizational mission); and
Mobilize companies to adopt best practices to insure that their goods and services are not being utilized by illegal wildlife traffickers, and to assist in raising public awareness and reducing demand.
Thai martial arts star Tony Jaa, internationally known from his leading roles in Furious 7 and Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior, is giving a sneak preview of his new role as Thailand's first ambassador for the Ivory Free campaign, a joint venture between WildAid and our conservation partners.
International passengers arriving at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport can catch Jaa’s #IvoryFree billboard at Concourse C, alongside fellow WildAid ambassadors Prince William, David Beckham and Yao Ming.
Jaa grew up in Thailand’s northeastern province of Surin, where his family raised elephants. He is urging locals and tourists alike not to buy ivory, as it's illegal to transport any ivory products, even small pieces, out of Thailand.