As part of the 2015 March, our iworry campaign will be marching and calling for, among other things: a total ban on all ivory trade and sales, and increased investment in "boots on the ground." But what does this actually mean?
A total ban on all ivory sales and trade.
It might be well known that an international ban on all ivory sales was enacted in 1989, but domestic trade in countries like China, Japan and the US remains, albeit restricted to certain types of ivory. These legal markets have created confusion among the public and a grey area that has been exploited by illegal traders - a recent report from Hong Kong by WWF found the legal system was near broken and could be directly encouraging the poaching of elephants in Africa. Where permits can be faked, ivory smuggled and illicitly bought, all behind an ostensible veil of legality it is the elephant that perishes. A total ban on all sales would therefore eradicate this grey area, and ensure that no loopholes could be exploited.
Increased investment in 'boots on the ground.'
The Thin Green Line estimates that 1,000 wildlife rangers have been killed in the line of duty protecting the world's wildlife in the past 10 years. Laying their lives on the ground, many anti-poaching forces desperately need more equipment, better funding and training - ultimately investment in their skills and teams. At the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, it can cost up to $42,000 to fund an Anti-Poaching Teams activities for one year, including de-snaring, tracking and arresting ivory poachers, monitoring elephants injured by poachers and treated by vets and building vital relationships with communities. Demonstrating their worth, to date the DSWT/KWS Anti-Poaching Teams have removed more than 130,000 snares and arrested more than 1,200 poachers.
This weekend presents a big opportunity to make our concerns for Africa's elephants known to our political leaders. Elephants might "trumpet" and be able to communicate by infrasound - but at the political table they don't have a voice and we must be theirs, shouting loud.
Find your nearest march, download our materials to show who you are marching for and join our staff at: iworry.org/campaign">www.iworry.org/campaign By Rob Brandford, iworry Campaign Director and Executive Director of the DSWT (UK)