My heart hurts when I ponder how we seem to be fighting a relentless and purely evil foe whose goal is to snuff out every last elephant in Africa. In one bloody rampage in April 2012, poachers slaughtered twenty-two elephants in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Garamba National Park. “They were good shots, very good shots,” says Mr. Onyango, Garamba’s chief ranger. “They even shot the babies.
Why would they do that? It was like they came here to destroy everything.” He could have been speaking about a recent atrocity, on January 5th, 2013, during which eleven elephants were killed in one incident in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park. This was the largest known elephant massacre in Kenya’s history. As in the earlier Congo murders, one of the dead was an ivory-free infant …
These are the people who can save their elephants from extinction. “It’s pretty hopeless to stop elephant poaching in Africa unless you get local buy-in,” says Iain Douglas-Hamilton, one of the world’s best-known elephant researchers.
We founded Amara Conservation to help elephants. Along the way Amara has developed a unique educational technique that has the potential to greatly secure the entire vital ecosystem of Tsavo. And, could be used in other parts of Africa to maintain biodiversity. Through my work with the people of Kenya, I have come to gain an appreciation for them and their daily struggles.
They live with the elephants, and work hard to make a living in very difficult places. This has had a profound effect on my view of the world: I’ve changed from being an entirely animal-focused person into someone who also deeply cares about people. For that transformation I am grateful.
Our fight must continue. When news of ever more brutal elephant massacres is revealed, I become more determined. I urge you to hold our successes close to your hearts. Therein lies our strength. We will, all of us, do our very best to turn this horrible tide around. Please help us.