Thursday, 26 May 2016

ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

ELEPHANT IN THE ROOMRecently, African leaders, together with conservation luminaries from around the world, business entrepreneurs and philanthropists gathered in Nairobi to further discuss how to tackle the diminishing number of elephants. A warranted sense of relief indeed!!


Elephants are amongst the smartest and most empathetic creatures on the planet. They are known to have a high intelligent quotient, almost close to that of a human, making them one of the most intelligent animal species in the world. Their brain is assumed to be formed in the same way as that of a human, with over a total of 300 billion neurons and general connectivity. But, over the past half-century, elephant population has decreased in record numbers across the African continent, generally from poaching to feed illegal ivory markets in Asia and elsewhere. War, too, has had distressing penalties for elephant herds. They are almost all wiped out in West and Central Africa. In East Africa, figures from Tanzania are most alarming. The elephant population in that region has been reduced by more than half in the past five years.


Recently, African leaders, together with conservation luminaries from around the world, business entrepreneurs and philanthropists gathered in Nairobi to further discuss how to tackle the diminishing number of elephants. A warranted sense of relief indeed!! Presidents of Kenya, Uganda, Gabon and Botswana alongside a host of charity groups created the Giants club to revitalize the war against poaching in the African elephant range states that host over half of the big mammal's population in the continent.


President Kenyatta said that governments, corporations and campaigners across Africa are united in their resolution to fight against poaching whose threat to ecosystems and livelihood is enormous. "Pragmatic actions are needed to secure the future of the remaining African elephants and other endangered species. We must lobby key influencers to help reduce demand for ivory," said President Kenyatta.


Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni noted that besides poaching, socioeconomic challenges like poverty, overpopulation and civil conflict threatened the survival of iconic creatures. He suggested vigorous cross border partnership, community rendezvous and law enforcement to help minimize loss of elephants through poaching. "We must devote our focus to the supply and demand chain, eliminate corruption and empower communities to eradicate poaching in this continent," Museveni said.


The President of Gabon, Ali Bongo noted that sharing of best practices together with political goodwill are key to eradicate poaching and other wildlife crimes in the continent. "We require strategic interventions to halt loss of iconic wildlife species that have been symbol of our heritage for millennia," Bongo remarked adding that investments in electric fences and community conservancies should be scaled up to cut human-wildlife conflicts. Max Graham, Founder and Chief Executive of Space for Giants, implementation charity of the Giants Club, said: “These two days see all the people who need to be together to accelerate progress on elephant protection together in one place: Africa’s leaders, conservationists, philanthropists and investors, and people with the influence to bring others to our side.


“That is what makes this event so special - and will help secure elephants and the landscapes across which they roam forever.” The Giants Club was founded by the Presidents of Kenya, Gabon, Uganda and Botswana, and Evening Standard proprietor Evgeny Lebedev, the patron of Space for Giants and the Giants Club. It was basically created to unite African governments, business houses and conservationists to find a solution to the poaching crisis and assist in the implementation of the Elephant Protection Initiative. Read more....

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