By Justin King
Margaret Kanyatta, First Lady of a nation that lost almost 400 elephants to poaching last year, called out to the international community for help.
Speaking at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, she asked for countries with a demand for ivory to educate their citizens on the importance of keeping a viable elephant population in Africa, hoping that an end to demand for the ivory will stop elephants from being killed to harvest their tusks. She added that by protecting elephants, which requires protecting large areas of land, the efforts also protect many other species that occupy the same lands.
She symbolically adopted an orphaned elephant recently, joining the ranks of other notables, such as Kristin Davis, in the fight to save Africa’s elephants.
Shortly after the First Lady’s plea, officials in Zimbabwe announced that poachers are suspected of killing 41 elephants by poisoning them with cyanide. Five of the suspects are in custody. The use of poison kills beyond the elephant; the carcasses, left behind after the animal’s tusks have been removed, are fed on by other animals scavenging for food, as well as people in poverty stricken areas.
Last month, Kristin Davis wrote an article explaining that at the current rate of poaching in twelve years they will be extinct. She went on to say that the ivory sells for roughly $1000 dollars a pound, making the illicit trade extremely profitable. The proceeds are often used to fund the many atrocities the region has seen. Kristin Davis, better known as Charlotte from Sexy and the City, is one of the leading activists in the fight against poaching.