By Shinan Govani
And everyone left with an elephant.
Putting some tusk in one’s swag was a function held at the Shangri-La in Toronto Tuesday to properly launch the Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation, focused on issues of animal welfare. You get an elephant! You get an elephant! And you get an elephant! No, Oprah did not pop by to instruct everyone to look under their chairs for a gift box, but it was close to the next best thing: Dana Margolis, the wife of dashing foreign affairs-expert/vitamins manufacturer Eric, informed everybody in the room, at a certain juncture, that they were all being gifted with a floppy-eared foster-baby of their own for one year.
A chorus of oohs went up around me, with Kristin Davis — yes, Charlotte from Sex and the City — giving the announcement a particularly audible two-thumbs-up. “That’s awesome!” she rang out from her seat. (Ever the cheerleader and adventuress, Kristin — an ambassador for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust — had just spoken to us about her own experiences with the cause, having travelled to Africa many times, and trekked into the wilds to help save many an orphan elephant — one time, as she informed me later, with a guide named Elvis!)
University and Richmond is no where near the Maasai Mara, and the cocktails going around did arouse memories of Radical Chic, in the indubitable spirit of Tom Wolfe, but the recoil was sincere when David Sheldrick himself showed us before-and-after photos. Of elephants. Being hunted. With the demand for ivory on the up, as many know — driven by demands by the new rich in China — the massacre of elephants has reached epic levels, with tens of thousands of the animals slaughtered each year for their tusks.
An accompanying announcement then came that the Margolis Foundation would be sponsoring four new anti-poaching teams in Africa, in partnership with the Sheldrick group. A “right to freedom from pain,” is how Eric, the founder of Jamieson Vitamins, personally phrased it, putting a fine point on his mission. And then — putting an even finer point on things, in a Gandhi-style change-within manner — he pointed out that his home is a pretty full house these days, what with three dogs and three cats currently in residence. More....