By Deborah Allard
After a hearty breakfast at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast on Friday morning, Jim Justus Nyamu of Kenya put feet to pavement and continued his walk to Washington, D.C., on a journey to spread awareness of the illegal ivory trade and poaching of elephants in Africa.
While the plight in Africa may seem a world away, the United States is contributing to the problem as the second largest buyer of illegal ivory from Africa, beat only by China.
Nyamu, a scientist who works in conservation and research, has seen his country’s majestic elephant population dwindle in recent years as poachers slaughter the animals in horrific ways only to harvest their ivory for quick cash.
Nyamu said many of the poachers are engaging in the activity because they have no other means of income and no education, drawing a parallel to the drug trade caused by economic woes in America.
Some 400 elephants were killed in Kenya in August alone. Many are the family matriarchs, which leaves baby elephants to fend for themselves and disrupts the ecosystem.
If nothing changes, elephants will be extinct from Africa by 2025.
“When does it end? We want it to end today,” Nyamu said.
Nyamu traveled from Kenya to Boston last week to lead the “Ivory Belongs to Elephants Campaign Walk” that will culminate on Oct. 4, World Elephant Day, in Washington, D.C. He spent a free night at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, where he “slept like an elephant” and then headed to Tiverton, Portsmouth, Newport and beyond. While in this country, Nyamu will meet with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and conduct presentations at Yale and Princeton universities. More....