By Amol Rajan
The world has noticed the plight of the elephant; and this week, the world came together to act.
For the past couple of months you have been reading in our pages about the horrors of the illegal ivory trade. Poaching has led to the mass slaughter of elephants in Africa, so that the possibility of them becoming extinct within a decade is terrifyingly real. Last year, we decided this situation was so urgent it should be the focus of our campaign.
If there were times when we cavilled at the thought of another double-page spread with pictures of large dead mammals, after this week I can safely say we’ve no regrets.
Your response has been extraordinary and is very deeply appreciated by the team at Space for Giants, the charity we have been raising money for. What’s more, the world has noticed; and this week, the world came together to act.
On Thursday, leaders from around the world gathered in London’s Lancaster House to declare that enough is enough. The turnout was exceptional, from heads of state to royalty to our own Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister. Together they pledged action on many of the themes we have been campaigning for: from reducing demand through education to combating corruption through better legislation.
As Max Graham, the CEO of Space for Giants has said, it is just possible that 2014 will be remembered as the year that Africa’s elephants were saved from extinction. But partly because that outcome is far from certain, and partly because of the psychological boost Max’s team would get from it, we want to raise another £30,000 or so and hit the £500,000 mark.
Of course most landmarks are arbitrary. But some are more arbitrary than others. To reach half a million – a record total for this newspaper, and going on for double that of our last annual campaign – wouldn’t just be a great feeling for those of us in the office. It would, more importantly, be a huge and psychologically precious boost for the tireless charity workers who are saving these beautiful mammals from extinction.
I am of course hugely grateful to our colleagues on the London Evening Standard, The Independent on Sunday, and i for all their support. Above all, on behalf of all of us, I’d like to thank you and your fellow readers for your immense generosity – and also, if I may, to ask for your support in this final push.
So far we’ve raised just under £470,000. That includes a fantastic day on Thursday, when we raised a record amount in a single day. Now we need just £30,000 more to hit that half a million mark. Please consider donating if you haven’t already, and play your part in saving Africa’s beautiful elephants from extinction.
Thanks for all your support, and have a great weekend.