On Friday, October 4, thousands of people will march in solidarity for elephants in 15 cities globally; the single largest public demonstration of support for the species, which is under threat of extinction.
The International March for Elephants, organized by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) through its iWORRY campaign, will raise global awareness of the illegal ivory trade and its devastating impact on elephant populations. An estimated 36,000 elephants are being killed annually for their ivory; at this rate there could be no elephants in the wild by 2025. This critical issue is receiving prominent support, including that of President Obama, the Clinton Foundation, HRH Prince William and Kenya's First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.
Despite an international ban on trade in ivory, elephant poaching is on the rise, driven by a demand for ivory in Asia and other markets, including the USA, where ownership is seen as a sign of wealth and status. Illicit wildlife trade has serious implications:
- One elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory.
- Criminal syndicates are involved and terrorist groups are known to be using ivory to fund activities, a threat to national and global security.
- In countries and communities reliant on wildlife tourism, millions of people risk losing their livelihoods
- More than 1,000 wildlife rangers have been killed in the course of protecting wildlife over the last decade.