Keep Tim Alive
An encounter with a wounded tusker reminds me that saving elephants is the only true measure of success of our campaigns

Tim, one of the world's largest Tuskers

Tim, one of the world’s largest Tuskers

Photograph: John Heminway/WildlifeDirect
Amboseli, Kenya, 7 November 2014.

We are sitting in the beautiful Tortillis camp overlooking the wide savannah. Just as we are about to move on to another item on the agenda, Scott Asen, one of our newest board members, consults his phone and announces: “Tim just sent me a text. He’s waiting. I think we should go now.” Words said in jest that had a profound meaning for all of us present.

Tim is one of the world’s biggest tuskers and his home is Amboseli. Like other bull elephants he leads a nomadic life, roaming far and wide across the vast national park and beyond. We felt blessed that he had shown up on this particular day. After two days of hard work and important progress for elephant conservation we felt Tim was here to say “thank you”. But what we saw shocked us to the core. Tim had not come to say thank you, he was pleading with us: “Help me.”

The WildlifeDirect Board of 14 extraordinary men and women from USA, UK and Kenya had met less than 24 hours earlier with Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta, the First Lady of Kenya, and with Judi Wakhungu, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources.

We presented the successes of the Hands Off Our Elephants Campaign, launched by WildlifeDirect a year ago, in bringing together Kenyans from all walks of life to stand up for elephants and wildlife, and lobbying governments worldwide to take action against the international crime cartels behind the poaching crisis that is threatening Africa’s elephants.

Then we heard about the ministry’s successes in passing new laws and strengthening the protection agencies, and about the many challenges remaining. And then at the most unexpected moment, the usually shy and withdrawn First Lady stepped up to agree to a raft of requests: for her to spearhead the replication of the campaign across Africa, and for Kenya’s elephants and rhinos to be declared national treasures.

She also supported our call for a Kenyan national Wildlife Festival to enlist all sectors of society in wildlife conservation efforts. Everything was going swimmingly, and then the First Lady turned to ask: “But why aren’t you guys working together?” I felt busted and immediately agreed to work with Judi to assemble an independent team of experts to conduct a national assessment of Kenya’s elephants and rhinos.

As we left the meeting The First Lady hugged me and said: “Don’t ever give up, you must fight on”. I left State House on a cloud, and things got better as the day progressed.

That evening we celebrated the achievements of the first year of the campaign with supporters and partners in government and beyond. Our Facebook page described the “colour and pomp, smiles and hugs” of the Hands Off Our Elephants first birthday party.

The US Ambassador Bob Godec brought some members of the audience to tears with a powerful speech from the heart. He said it was not just his job to help us save elephants, but also a deeply held personal conviction.

Our keynote speaker, the Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga, remembered the first day he ‘met’ me through what he described as the first of a series of “angry emails”. I had been going to court, and was appalled to see how ivory poachers and traffickers were being let off. The emails were to tell him just how diabolical it all was. He gave WildlifeDirect permission to continue our hard-hitting approach: “Don’t stop being angry.”

Fast forward, and the next evening we are all sitting atop of Land Rovers, off-road somewhere in Amboseli National Park. It is dense palm thicket and we can hear branches cracking. Tim is near. Then we see a monumental trunk above the palms, reaching high into the branches. It is only when we drive around to get a full view that we see the magnificence of his full body and his gigantic tusks.

It is 4.50 pm and the sun is gleaming on his ivory. An audible “aaaaaahhh” emanates from all of us. Tim is truly spectacular. Then Tim notices us and turns. It is as if he is hiding that which we find so beautiful, which too many Chinese are addicted to, and which translates to dollar signs for greedy poachers.

We sit quietly contemplating the giant Tim. I am acutely aware that it is very strange for this elephant I know so well to be so shy. He is usually proud and confident, and loves attention and cameras. And then the bombshell, as we see the sore his left flank, where blood and white clumps of puss are oozing out. This is why Tim is acting so strangely. He is in great pain.


Hands Off Our Elephants Campaign material was already calling to “Keep Tim Alive” before he was found injured in November 2014. Photograph: John Heminway/WildlifeDirect

Majestic Tim is injured. We can only speculate about recent events, that Tim has possibly been speared by someone from the local community. He may have threatened farmers, or perhaps a poacher was after him.

All of us sit in our own silence as we watch Tim for over an hour. Then Tim steps out in front of us and walks amongst us, but his walk is strained. I cannot describe the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I feel so helpless, but also chastened. We have been celebrating the successes of our campaign, but what right do we have to celebrate when poaching and human-wildlife conflict still threaten elephants every day?

Within seconds the purpose of WildlifeDirect is suddenly vivid. Kenya has already lost two iconic tuskers, Satao and Mountain Bull, this year. Hands Off Our Elephants was already campaigning to Keep Tim Alive. Now he needs our help.

In minutes we have a plan to give the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) 25 thousand US dollars to to monitor and protect Tim 24/7. We call Julius Cheptei, the KWS Assistant Director, and he agrees to assign a vet to the case immediately.

As we leave Tim, the six other bulls that make up his escort are walking off towards the edge of the park. We follow them for a short while, and see they are heading towards some local settlements. I am not worried. It’s their normal routine and the communities here are usually very tolerant of elephants.

But Tim does not follow. He stays 200 meters behind and then peels off towards the centre of the swamp. He is not going to put himself at risk again.

New Chairman for WildlifeDirect Kenya

Press Statement
14 November 2014, Nairobi
Philip Murgor is Appointed as the new Chairman of WildlifeDirect Kenya
The Board of Directors of WildlifeDirect is happy to announce the appointment of Philip Murgor as the new Chairman of the board of WildlifeDirect Kenya.
Murgor’s appointment was made at a board meeting held at the Amboseli National Park in early November 2014. The international board was in Kenya to mark the first anniversary of WildlifeDirect’s flagship campaign, Hands Off Our Elephants.
This appointment will greatly strengthen the organisation, given his wealth of experience gained over two decades, working in both local and international litigation, serving as formerly as a State Counsel, as Kenya’s Director of Public Prosecutions and currently as the managing partner of Murgor and Murgor Advocates.
WildlifeDirect is committed and dedicated to changing laws and people’s behaviour and attitudes related to wildlife crime in Kenya and throughout Africa. In the last year, WildlifeDirect, through its Hands Off Our Elephants campaign, was in the forefront in championing the passing into law of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013. Currently, the organisation is conducting a study into the enforceability of the new law in relation to wildlife trafficking crimes in Kenya.
Philip Murgor’s contribution towards this end will not only be felt in Kenya but across the entire African continent where the Hands Off our Elephants campaign will go to.
Other members of the Kenyan board include development expert Irungu Houghton and Ali Daud Mohamed, the Climate Change Advisor in the office of the Deputy President.
The First Lady Margaret Kenyatta is the patron of the Hands Off Our Elephants campaign, launched to advocate for the protection of remaining elephant populations.

For More Information, Please contact CEO of WildlifeDirect Dr Paula Kahumbu on 0722 685 106 or the Communications Manager Bertha Kang’ong’oi on 0720 712 730

Emmanuel Jal Joins Kenyans to Mark the World Elephant Day this Saturday, 9 August at the Brookhouse School

7th August 2014, Nairobi.

For Immediate Release

Emmanuel Jal Joins Kenyans to Mark the World Elephant Day this Saturday, 9 August at the Brookhouse School, from 10 am.

Former South Sudanese Child soldier, now African celebrity, Emmanuel Jal, will Join Kenyans on Saturday 9 August to mark the World Elephant Day. This will be at an event organised by WildlifeDirect and the Hands Off Our Elephants campaign to celebrate World Elephant Day at the Brookhouse School in Nairobi. The event aims to draw hundreds of Kenyans and will raise awareness about this magnificent species that could go extinct within our lifetimes. According to CITES, poachers in Africa gun down more than 20,000 elephants each year. Participants will gain enormous knowledge, meet and be inspired by Kenyans who are making a huge difference on the ground, have fun, find out why we should care and get involved in the cause.


It will involve the screening of two award winning films both made in Kenya and both about elephants. The first film, “Echo, An elephant to Remember” tells the story of one of the world’s most famous elephant, the late Echo. The film also features Kenyan Maasai scientists based at the Amboseli National Park . “White Gold”, also filmed in Kenya by Simon Trevor will be screened for the first time to a public audience. This film, narrated by Hillary Clinton, tells the dark story of poaching, ivory trade and its links to armed conflicts. Prominent Kenyans including Julie Gichuru , James Smart, Julius Cheptei, Judge Nzioki wa Kamau, Dr. Philip Muruthi, Raabia Hawa and Dr. Paula Kahumbu will join panels to discuss the various implications of ongoing crisis facing elephants in order to share knowledge, understanding and to offer solutions. The day’s program will include entertainment and promotion of the ongoing Ndovu Music Contest, a collaboration with the New York Based PCI Media Impact and one of Kenya’s hottest hip hop artists, Juliani ( Eric Wainaina has just joined the team. At just 18, Kenyan creator of Kikoti fashion, Iona McCreath will launch her partnership with WildlifeDirect with a fashion show intended to take the message “Don’t Buy Ivory” all the way to China. “We didn’t ask him, Emmanuel Jal just offered to join us on Saturday!”, Said Paula Kahumbu, the CEO of WildlifeDirect and the Hands Off Our Elephants campaign. “Emmanuel said he has sung about elephants before, but he grew up fearing elephants, not loving them. Through Juliani and WildlifeDirect he says he has discovered that elephants are so much like humans and was shocked to hear that their suffering is directly linked to ours through armed conflicts. He is committed to reaching and changing the hearts of 300 million African people through music, to save elephants and create peace”. Emmanuel Jal will Join Kenyans via Skype to discuss his work and how it can help us save elephants and create peace. As a former student of Brookhouse School he insists that the program made him who he is. Another famous Brookhouse scholarship student, Richard Turere the child inventor of Lion Lights, an electrical deterrent system to keep lions out of his father’s stockade, will feature on the program. Brookhouse school has supported the event by providing the venue at no cost and several major hotels and restaurants have given prizes to be won throughout the day. The African Wildlife Foundation and Cheli and Peacock Ltd have supported the costs of the event. The program will close at 4. 15 pm

Editor’s Note:
WildlifeDirect is a Kenyan NGO and US registered 501(c) (3) organization founded in 2006 by Kenyan conservationist Dr Richard Leakey, who is credited with putting an end to the elephant slaughter in Kenya in the 1980s and delivering an international ban on ivory trade. WildlifeDirect has over the years positioned itself as Africa’s foremost campaigning organization for wildlife conservation. Hands Off Our Elephants, the flagship campaign, comprises a winning combination of expertise including, wildlife ecologists, communications, law, politics, media, strategists, and linguists, making them bold, influential, and successful. The campaign has already won international recognition for creating public awareness and driving legal reforms in Kenya and East Africa. WildlifeDirect partners with civil society, government agencies and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative on elephants. WildlifeDirect’s vision is to secure Africa’s wildlife as a global heritage into perpetuity through policies and practices that support the development aspirations of African people. Their mission is to stop wildlife crises by inspiring all sectors of society to take responsibility and action to safeguard wildlife. By partnering with government, civil society and communities, WildlifeDirect identifies critical issues and executes innovative solutions. For more information, Please contact Paula Kahumbu at or call +254 722 685 106


During the past 10 years there has been an unprecedented growth in the illegal ivory markets and in 2011, the poaching of elephants in Africa reached a ten year record[i] with more than 25,000 elephants illegally killed[ii], corresponding with an all-time record of 38.8 tons of ivory seized[1]. Simultaneously, the price of ivory exploded from US$150/kg to over US$1,000/kg between 2008 and 2012. Importantly, the illegal ivory trade is believed to be financing local conflicts and international terrorism[2] through Al Qaeda’s Somali wing, Al Shabaab[3], the Lord’s Resistance Army[4] and Sudan’s Janjaweed. Further, the escalation of elephant poaching has rendered large parts of Eastern and Central Africa insecure for all, including poor and vulnerable rural communities and key income and job sectors, like tourism[5].

This massive growth in the illegal ivory markets grew in response to rising affluence in China’s middle class who demand and use ivory for artifacts as status symbols. This demand is fuelled through poor controls of domestic markets in China and other Asian countries, allowing illegal ivory to be laundered through legal domestic markets and exacerbated by the simultaneous presence of China in Africa as a development and trade partner – with hundreds of thousands of Chinese immigrants now operating in Kenya and millions across the continent.
This ivory trade is driven by criminal cartels threatening not only elephants and other species, but also people, their livelihoods, management of natural resources, the tourism sector (second biggest contributor at 12% of GDP) and local and national security. In recent speeches US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, stated that wildlife trafficking has serious implications for the security and prosperity of people around the world and it needs to be addressed through partnerships as robust as the criminal networks themselves[6]. She noted that governments, civil society, businesses, scientists and activists must work together in educating people about the whole-scale devastation caused by wildlife trafficking.

Kenya traditionally has been on the front lines in combating elephant poaching in Africa and has been a leading voice on elephant conservation through various international conventions including CITES, the Convention on Biodiversity, the Convention on Migratory species and others. Despite these commitments, the current response of the Kenyan government to the crisis continues to falter and is wholly inadequate for the size of the problem. The combination of corruption and weak domestic wildlife laws means that Kenya has now become the second largest transiting country for illegal ivory in Africa, second only to Tanzania. Moreover, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda alone now account for nearly 70% of the illegal ivory flowing out of Africa. At the recently concluded CITES conference, the member nations put eight (8) countries (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and China), on notice to put an action plan in place to deal with the elephant poaching and ivory trading crisis, otherwise they will suffer sanctions stopping all wildlife trade, legal or illegal. Kenya’s leading role and voice in conservation has been undermined by this recent incident.

In response to this double-edged crisis, Wildlife Direct (see annex) has launched a Kenyan (with the option of replicating it to other African countries), multi-strand strategy to combat the key issues and challenges:

WildlifeDirect is a Kenyan NGO and US registered 501(c) (3) organization founded in 2006 by Kenyan conservationist Dr Richard Leakey, who is credited with putting an end to the elephant slaughter in Kenya in the 1980s and delivering an international ban on ivory trade. WildlifeDirect is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. WildlifeDirect was conceived as an online platform that promotes conservation of Africa’s spectacular wildlife by building an online community of supporters for conservationists at the frontline in Africa. Realizing, that our work, while effective, was inadequate to halt the emerging crises facing Africa’s elephants and other wildlife, WildlifeDirect has now re-positioned itself as Africa’s foremost campaigning organization for wildlife conservation. Hands Off Our Elephants, our flagship campaign comprises a winning combination of expertise including, wildlife ecologists, communications, law, politics, media, strategists, and linguists, making us bold, influential, and successful. This African led initiative is supported Kenya’s First Lady, Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta as patron. The campaign has already won international recognition for creating public awareness and driving legal reforms in Kenya and East Africa. WLD partners with civil society, government agencies and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative on elephants.

Our goal is to demonstrate excellence in Kenya, a country formerly renowned for it’s conservation successes and now reputed to be amongst the worlds most complicit in the illegal trafficking of ivory. We deliver political support for a strategy that achieves excellence in law enforcement through deterrent penalties combined with high probability of being arrested, excellent prosecutions, and fair trials.

We have secured success by mobilizing the public and drawing attention to key concerns.

To secure lasting results we seek ultimately to change the culture and therefore behavior of all Kenyans, and thereby also alter the global view of Kenya and thus attract support to enforce the national strategy for combatting international wildlife crime. Kenya’s success will only be secured if similar changes occur in the region – thus ultimately the outcome of this campaign must be replicated.

How We Work:
WildlifeDirect has an Africa focus with Kenya as the launch pad for its activities.

WildlifeDirect’s main strengths are:-

1. WildlifeDirect has relationships with multi-levels of Kenyan and international society across a diverse range of interests and entities, e.g., international NGOs, government authorities, management bodies, civil society groups, grass-root communities and their constituencies.
2. High-level international profile and combined expertise of the founder Dr. Richard Leakey, board members John Heminway, Philip Murgor, Irungu Houghton, Ali Mohamed, and Executive Director Dr. Paula Kahumbu.
3. High level of expertise through a diverse professional board, advisers, and consultants and a talented, committed staff.
5. WildlifeDirect plays a prominent leadership role in the non-governmental arena – including wildlife, environment, development, legal, tourism, conservation, and education.
6. WildlifeDirect has a proven track record of provoking action in conservation at governmental, intergovernmental and international levels.
7. WildlifeDirect’s visibility in traditional media (television, radio and newspapers), and innovative use of new media e.g. the internet to tell stories from the conservation ‘frontline’, raise awareness of crises and causing urgent actions to be instigated.

WildlifeDirect’s ability to mobilize African and international action in support of wildlife conservation.

[1] T. Milliken, R. B. (2012). The elephant Trade Information System and illicit trade in Ivory: Report to CITES Cop 16. TRAFFIC.

[2] Puhl, H. K. (2012, September 13). Brutal Elephant Slaughter Funds African Conflicts. Retrieved from Spiegel:

[3] Gathura, G. (2012, December). Poachers funding Al-Shabaab, reveals KWS. Retrieved from Horn portal:

[4] Witcher, T. (2012, December 19). LRA poaching ivory as Kony hunt intensifies. Retrieved from Reuters:

[5] Goldenberg, S. (2012). London: The Guardian.

[6] Clinton, Hilary. Remarks at the Partnership Meeting on Wildlife Trafficking. 8th November 2012

WildlifeDirect is expanding its Team

WLD is expanding its team.  

Positions available: Communications & Advocacy Officer, Operations Manager and Programme Manager.  

Application Process: You must provide an up-to-date version of your Curriculum Vitae, including your professional experience and qualifications until June 2014.  All applications must include a Cover Letter stating clearly and concisely how you match the essential criteria and values listed in the TOR below.

If you’re interested, download the TOR here and apply by 23rd July 2014, to  

WLD Communications & Advocacy Officer-Final (1)

WLD Operations Manager-Final (1)

WLD Programme Manager-Final (1)

Please note that only applicants that clearly match their skills and experience to the requirements for this position will be considered.


UNDP partners with Kenya’s First Lady to combat poaching

25, 2014/in First Lady, News, Press /by PSCU



First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta with the Administrator UNDP, Ms. Helen Clark

First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta with the Administrator UNDP, Ms. Helen Clark

Nairobi June 25, 2014 (PSCU) United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has entered into a partnership with the office of the First Lady Mrs Margaret Kenyatta on wildlife conservation and anti-poaching in the country.

Under the partnership, UNDP will sponsor the First Lady’s ‘Hands Off Our Elephants campaign’ to the tune of USD 100,000

UNDP will also scale up its support for wildlife conservation initiatives by communities and other stakeholders involved in the campaign to protect elephants and other endangered wildlife species in the country.

Speaking during the launch at State House Nairobi, UNDP Administrator Ms Helen Clark stressed the need for all stakeholders to collaborate in maintaining the global momentum of awareness campaigns, especially in countries where wildlife trophies are sourced and the consumers.

“UNDP will do all it can to combat poaching in Kenya and other parts of the world. As a result of the spirited campaign, there is international consensus on wildlife conservation,” she said.

The UNDP Administrator commended the First Lady for her efforts to conserve wildlife through her ‘Hands Off Our Elephants’ campaign, and pledged her continued support to the initiative.

The First Lady welcomed the UNDP’s support, saying that the battle on poaching and illegal wildlife trophies trade cannot be won by a single entity.

“We still need to get the poachers before they strike. We cannot win this battle alone. We should work hand in hand. We all stand to benefit when we conserve our heritage because we all have a stake in it”, she said.

She called for closer partnership with all stakeholders to strengthen advocacy for community, national and global solutions to combat wildlife poaching.

At the same time, the First Lady, called for the harmonization of regional wildlife conservation legislation to combat cross-border poaching and smuggling. She said the harmonization would deepen cooperation in the region, especially in jointly combating the ivory trade.

The First lady noted with appreciation that the ‘Hands Off Our Elephants’ campaign she launched last year to raise awareness on the poaching menace both in Kenya and on the global stage was bearing fruit.

“The campaign to end the menace of wildlife poaching especially elephants and rhinos is close to my heart as it is to all Kenyans,” the First Lady said.

As a result of the campaign, she added, an increase of illegal trophy seizures in Kenyan ports has been witnessed and for the first time more seizures have been made on the African continent than in Asia.

The First Lady said the campaign has brought together of communities to conserve wildlife.

However, she regretted the increased poaching of elephant and rhino.

She insisted that that Kenya was home to some of the world’s most beautiful flora and fauna, and that it was ‘our duty’ to conserve and share it with the rest of the world.

The First Lady said over 300,000 Kenyans were directly employed in the tourism sector with many more as indirect beneficiaries.
















By Chris Kiarie – Project Interpreter, WildlifeDirect

June 8th 2014 Guangzhou City, China


It’s a Sunday evening. I am seated in a downtown hotel lobby. I had a long 9 hour flight from Addis Ababa. In the plane, seated next to me are a Chinese gentleman and a Tanzanian lady. We relate well from the moment we board the plane to the moment we alight. As each one of us watches the movies we have selected on our respective screens, I can’t help but wonder what is on their minds. On the other hand, I already know what is on my mind. I look forward to an engaging Sunday. Immediately I land in Guangzhou China, I meet a volunteer holding a placard with words “Elephants Kenya” and my name appears below. I wave at her and she has the most inviting smile. Just what was needed after a tiring 9-hour flight. She asked for her parents’ car to receive me. This is the friendship I am used to back home.  She takes me straight to a work station where I meet a group of young curious Chinese students. They are all curious about elephants.

As the room fills up, you can sense their excitement. For the first time in their lives, they are about to meet individuals who are have personally experienced been in close proximity with elephants. Gao, our host, is busy setting up the stage, getting the presentations ready for the slideshow. Meanwhile, Resson and I are engaged with the young Chinese visitors. They have questions on how best to engage the respective authorities so as to make progress in the conservation ideas they have in mind, they want to know what experience we have had in the field, what challenges we have encountered. Interesting conversations take place. This is the first meet-up.

During the presentations that follow, people are so excited that more and more questions come up. They want to know how they can help. Some already have pretty cool ideas. They are very touched by the new perspectives they have just heard. They are touched by what they have just seen. They want to help. This is the kind of new perspectives we want to see.



By Chris Kiarie, Project Interpreter – WildlifeDirect

June 12th 2014 Xiamen City

DSC_0625  DSC_0657


Photos by Resson Kantai and a friend.

As I watch a morning program in Xiamen China about how we should take care or our heart, I can’t help but wonder how much success elephant conservation success would have if all the stakeholders were to approach this issue positively ready to reason with each other. The blame game that has been going on lately has only led to more elephants been killed. The heart of solving the crisis elephants are facing is by willful participation and respect for each other’s cultures.

Last evening, after presentations by my colleagues and I, one listener approached us after all the people had asked all their questions. He said that he wanted to talk to us briefly. When he started talking, we could only look at each other in awe. The kind of network he has within this part of the country is so big that if we were to engage and other people from this region positively, a lot of good results would be achieved.

He shared his thoughts after following the presentations. He gave his advice on the approach that was been followed. Thinking about it, he made a lot of sense. He asked a rhetorical question: What is the difference between a cat and an elephant? He plainly said that in the Chinese culture, people generally do not have an attachment to animals as westerners have. Understanding this, we would be in a position to tackle the elephant poaching crisis in a better way. He advised that the economic effect of loss of elephants should be brought out in the advertisements that are made. For people to stop buying ivory, they have to understand the reason why. The reason has to be something the people connect with. China is a country focused on economic growth. Anything that would ruin a country’s economy would obviously matter to the Chinese people. Therefore, the economic effect on African economies which heavily rely on tourism to build their economy would appeal to the Chinese. This could easily make the government more committed. Do you agree?

Related to Elephant Conservation Tour In China


By Chris Kiarie – Project Interpreter, WildlifeDirect


June 11th 2014, Xiamen City

DSC_0694     DSC_0720

Photos by Gao YuFang and Resson Kantai Duff

Everyone loves them. In rural Africa, failure to have them, makes you the laughing stock of the village. In modern Africa, people still prefer to have at least one. Their presence saves families at times. In some other cases, their presence causes separation in families. Irrespective of which cultural or religious background we come from, everyone one wants to have them in their lives. CHILDREN

Similar to Africa, they are also very important in the Asian culture. Here in China, at every corner, you can see them playing with their parents and grandparents in the city sparks and squares. They bring joy. They bring pride. Just as in other parts of the world, their parents make so much effort to ensure that they live comfortable lives. They see me walking in the street corridors. They are very curious. “How come this person is so different from the people I see around here?” some wonder loudly. Yes, that is their beauty. They are frank about what they feel.

So you can imagine their shock and curiosity when they see my colleagues and I as we stroll along their school corridors. We have been invited to talk to 8 year old children about elephants. We prepared a presentation just for children. We get into the class and they are so excited to be with us. The teacher tries to calm them down but after every few minutes the decibels are rising again.

During the lesson, the teachers give presents to the children who give the right answers. They ask what ivory used is used to do. We show them pictures of the items made by ivory. We ask them what they know about elephants. We help them draw a picture on the life of an elephant in their young minds. They are so happy they finally understand about elephants.  This way, the class is entertaining for a whole one hour. We do not even realize how fast time has gone. They watch a film made by a fellow young Chinese girl from Hong Kong. They are so moved. Some are crying for the elephants. They want to know how they can help the elephants. They really connect with the young elephants that constantly lose their mothers. They can feel the pain. They are not afraid to show their emotions. They care for the young elephants. This is a strong message that they care for the mother elephants too. They care for the elephants. We can be sure that the children shared their experience with their parents that evening. A message was passed to the parents. An impression was made on these young minds. A parent who attended the session sits on the education committee of the school. She asked for a copy of the film and the education presentation so that it would be shown to the rest of the school. This opens up the education platform. As mentioned in previous blogs, knowledge is needed. This way, we will go a long way in conserving the elephants.

Related to Elephant Conservation Tour in China

V I C TO R Y!!!



The New York State Legislature stood up for elephants!
They passed a bill banning the sale and purchase of ivory and rhino horn.

We are so grateful to all of you for being a true coalition and supporting the efforts in New York with dedication and perseverance.

We look forward to working with you to make this a reality in all 50 states!

Kate Fitzgerald
Strategic Partnerships
96 Elephants
Wildlife Conservation Society