The Bodhi Tree Foundation launches S.A.F.E, an anti-poaching campaign aimed at galvanizing and uniting the tourism industry to elevate awareness of the current elephant poaching crisis. Developed in response to the plea of tour operators working in Africa who have been watching the crisis unfold firsthand, the campaign also provides support to field-based organizations working to combat poaching and protect African Elephant populations. Poaching levels of elephants have continued to escalate, with tens of thousands killed annually in Africa due to the demand for ivory. In 2012, approximately 35,000 elephants were killed, accounting for ten percent of the population. More than 90% of the African Elephant population has been slaughtered in the past 50 years alone. At the current poaching levels, elephants in many countries risk extinction as early as 2025.
With its primary goal to educate and raise awareness about the poaching crisis within the tourism industry and to travelers, S.A.F.E. also supports organizations that are currently making a difference on the ground. All donations to S.A.F.E. will fund beneficiaries' fieldwork and projects specifically designed to preserve the African Elephant. S.A.F.E. has partnered with the following esteemed organizations: African Wildlife Foundation, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Save The Elephants, and WildAid, chosen for their pioneering work in conservation. The Bodhi Tree Foundation has committed and distributed the first $20,000 in grants to these organizations as part of the campaign launch.
With 33.8 million tourists traveling to Africa in 2012, the loss of elephants has a tremendous impact on the global tourism industry and Africa's economy. In countries such as Kenya and South Africa, where tourism is vital, millions of people employed directly or indirectly in tourism risk losing their livelihoods. With no wildlife to view, travelers will disappear and subsequently, safari lodges and African tour operators will not be able to survive.
The Bodhi Tree Foundation is asking the travel industry and travelers to visit the S.A.F.E. website to learn about ways to get involved and actively join the campaign. Our growing list of Partners and Supporters includes such names as Absolute Travel, ProTravel, Wilderness Safaris and Singita.
For more information on S.A.F.E. and to learn ways the tourism industry can help, please visit http://www.saveafricaselephants.com/ ; http://www.thebodhitreefoundation.org/or email firstname.lastname@example.org.