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Minister set to lead global 'Elephant March' in Arusha

4th October 2013
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Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism

The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki is today expected to lead Arusha residents and anti-poaching campaigners when Tanzania joins 15 other countries in conducting the worldwide ‘March for Elephants!’

Arusha is one of the 15 cities across the globe which will take part in the international march for elephants scheduled to take place today. Other cities include Bangkok (Thailand), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Cape Town (South Africa), Edinburgh (Scotland), London (Great Britain), Melbourne (Australia), Munich (Germany), Nairobi (Kenya), Rome (Italy), Toronto (Canada), New York City, Washington DC and Wellington (USA).

According to organizers Tanzanians will join, through the city of Arusha, thousands of people across the world who would be marching in solidarity for elephants in 15 cities around the world in a single largest demonstration of awareness for the species’ imminent extinction.

Speaking here yesterday, the event coordinator, Sirili Akko of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) said a large procession of people, vehicles, students and tour operators will be marching from the ‘Cultural Heritage’ galleries, in Majengo area, along Dodoma, Sokoine and Nyerere roads moving to the climax event at the AICC residential estates grounds in Kijenge.

A larger-than-life Elephant statue will be leading the pantomime which also features a large banner reading ‘One elephant is killed every 15 minutes; at this rate none will be roaming the wild by 2025.’

According to Akko, the TATO Governing Council in its recent regular meeting appointed Vesna-Glamocanin Tibaijuka to lead Committee on Animal Day (TATO Conservation Support Committee) through which the event is to be organized today the annual animal day to be marked with a peaceful Elephant March through Arusha town.

“The committee formed by non-members as well, decided to support the "Sparkling Elephant Project” this year.

This is life-sized Elephant statue made of iron bars and sparkling beads and will be marched from Cultural heritage to AICC Grounds in Kijenge to rise awareness on impacts of poaching to the nature based tourism.

The International March for Elephants has been organized by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) through their ‘iworry’ campaign and will be taking place in 15 cities across the globe in the single largest demonstration of awareness for the species.

“We have decided to cancel the International March for Elephants in Nairobi after the ‘Westgate’ seige we will hold a vigil for those who so tragically lost their lives in the attacks and also for the elephants who continue to fall victim to the ivory trade on same day at the Nairobi Nursery,” he said.

Organized by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust through their campaign, the International March for Elephants will raise global awareness of the illegal ivory trade and the dire impact this is having on elephant populations.

Preventing the slaughter of elephants for their ivory has never been more important than it is today and through this global movement they will be urging Governments to work together to tackle the illicit trade in ivory, which is leading wild elephants to extinction by 2025.

It is estimated that one elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its tusks. At this rate wild African elephants will be extinct in 12 years.”

Kristin Davis Award-winning actress, "Sex in the City" star and long time patron of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, National Geographic journalist and author of "Blood Ivory," Bryan Christy, and Dr Patrick Omondi Deputy Director of the Kenyan Wildlife Service will be speaking along with a lineup of other prominent supporters and musicians.

The iWorry campaign has so far gathered the support of True Blood Star Kristin Bauer van Straten, Canadian TV personality Tanya Kim and award-winning actress Kristin Davis who stated that.

“We can make it stop, but only if we act now.” She continued: “Don’t let these majestic animals be brutally killed for human greed.” Organized by iworry, an advocacy campaign by Kenyan conservation charity The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), the organizers say preventing the slaughter of elephants for their ivory has never been more critical than it is today. Though laws ban the trade in ivory internationally, the continued demand in consumer countries has resulted in a thriving black market and elephant poaching.

It is also estimated that over 1,000 wildlife rangers have been killed in the course of protecting the elephants over the last decade, leaving families without fathers, husbands and income earners.

UK Director of the DSWT, Rob Brandford, said governments including the US, have a vital role to play. “Without international cooperation from world leaders and law enforcement officials, the survival of this species hangs in the balance. Ultimately, the decline of elephant populations affects us all, whether emotionally, economically or morally.” 

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN