By Bruce Finley
A resurgence of poaching for ivory is threatening Africa's elephants, prompting a push for better protection.
"There's a lot that people can do," said Africa Network for Animal Welfare chairman Nehemiah Rotich, who visited with Denver-based ANWA leaders Monday.
They're rallying Americans to urge U.S. ambassadors and Congress to put pressure on Asian governments to outlaw ivory trinkets made from elephant tusks.
ANAW leaders also are cultivating ties with the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York and the Denver Zoo, which run habitat projects in Africa. Denver's zoo has not housed African elephants since 1989. The current Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit focuses on Asian elephants. However, zoo officials said they're helping establish a National Elephant Center in Florida to save both African and Asian elephants. "We're always open to talking with partners," said Kyle Burks, who oversees species conservation projects for the zoo.
ANAW leaders are developing plans to help villagers in Kenya's Tsavu region, where land increasingly is rented for cattle. They'll raise $200,000 to buy back grazing rights and use land for elephants, then hold a workshop in Kenya to combat poaching, said ANAW's Denver-based president David Gies.
"To lose these wonderful animals would be a very sad thing. Our ancient covenant is to be good stewards," Gies said. "What the zoos can do is really mobilize their customers." More....