INTERNATIONAL ELEPHANT CONFERENCE PLANNED FOR JULY 2013 AT ZULU NYALA LODGE
An international elephant conference has been convened to discuss the plight, and future on the continent of Africa, of the remaining elephant herds, which are increasingly endangered and pushed into ever smaller habitats with ancient migration routes being cut off by fenced farms, ranched and housing to cater for massively expanded populations. The dates now given for the planned international elephant conference are July 03rd to 07th next year, according to one of the main promoters of the idea to give enough time to key speakers, international elephant experts and globally renowned conservationists to schedule an attendance or else be available for a speaking assignment.
Never before was the plight of the African elephants greater as across the continent a mass slaughter continues, driven by the greed and endless hunger in China and some other East and South Asian nations for ivory carvings.
In Cameroon were earlier in the year hundreds of elephant mowed down with automatic weapons, the carcasses stripped of the tusks and often parts of the tail with the equally valued elephant hair, and then left to rot.
In Southern Africa but increasingly also in Eastern Africa have the elephant become targets for gangs of commercial poachers, equipped with sophisticated communications gear, often using silencers for rifles or resorting to using poisoned spears and arrows to avoid alerting the anti poaching units.
As an added component have in Kenya gangs of brainwashed Masai criminals taken their own rage, or often rather their masters instructions, out on wildlife, killing lions indiscriminately and only recently a nearly tame elephant, whom they speared to death, exploiting the trusting nature of Ezra, one of the patriarch elephants of Amboseli National Park. Enough has been said elsewhere, in the Kenyan media and in the columns of the social networks, but the fact nevertheless remains, that Africas wildlife is under assault like never before for their trophies, the medicinally absolutely useless rhino horns and the tusks, much of which ends up smuggled to the East to be turned into quack medicine or carved seals, chop sticks or figures.
In South Africa the rhino deaths over the past three years stand at over 1.000, alarming by any standard and putting the survival of the entire species at risk, and in comparison, over the past 100 years have the great herds of elephant been decimated to less than 5 percent of what they used to be. Growing populations are now pushing into previously unproductive or the least productive agricultural areas in countries across Africa, especially East Africa, causing conflict with wildlife previously left alone and having wildlife managers reeling under the sudden onslaught of violent reactions by people, who should not be in such fringe areas in the first place.
Said Mandy Young, one of the promoters of the international elephant conference, when asked about the purposed but also the shift of dates from what was initially scheduled to be September this year: The vision for the International Elephant Conference arrived because of the challenges Land Owners of Small Game Reserves face with Elephant Management. In addition the Elephant Norms and Standards for Elephant Management became a part of the National Environmental Management of Biodiversity Act in February, 2008.
[But] I think there needs to be an [intensified] build up to the International Elephant Conference in order to get the right participants there [not only from South Africa but from the entire
continent, wherever there are issues with poaching and management of the
herds]. You can see some information leading to the conference on the following links: Beuga, the Matriarch of an Elephant Herd I researched between 2002-2005, an elephant herd I often took people to observe when facilitating Wisdom of Elephant self-discovery wildlife experiences, was shot on 31st October, 2011, the last day before her Destruction Permit would have ended. Her death has not been in vain and I think it would be a good time to relate her story and the good consequences that have been the result of action taken since her death. One of those actions has been the establishment of the International Elephant Conference www.elephantconference.co.za where prominent speakers like Gay Bradshaw, author of Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach us About Humanity, will establish the vision of the Conference to influence
elephant management in a way that will hopefully minimize human-elephant conflict and ensure ‘transfrontier’ [as well as domestic and regional
migration] corridors to make biodiversity and elephant survival possible.
Please will you tell this story and inform your readers about the up and coming International Elephant Conference in the build up to the Conference which now takes place from July 03 07, 2013. The dates were changed to accommodate speakers who were not able to make the dates earlier given.
Gladly done, from one conservation friend to another, to ensure the widest possible publicity and eventual participation in this important African meeting, where the conservation fraternity can also map out a new approach and strategy towards the increasingly unsustainable and barely understood policies of CITES vis a vis the trade in wildlife products, in particular ivory. Watch this space.