Feel that rumble? The ground will move October 3 to 4 as the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos thunders through your area.
Two of the world’s largest land animals are being hunted to the brink of extinction by poachers. After elephants and rhinos are killed, and their tusks and horns removed, the illegal wildlife trade pours billions of dollars into criminal and terrorist organizations that promote violence.
Demand for ivory and rhino-horn powder has created a crisis. Since 2005, Central Africa has lost half of its elephants. One species of rhino, the black rhino, has seen a population decline of about 92 percent since 1970.
Anti-trafficking efforts making strides
This year, investigative journalist Bryan Christy wanted to do something about ivory trafficking and its connections with violent criminal groups. Working with a taxidermist, he created fake elephant tusks equipped with transmitters to map smuggling networks in Central Africa. His high-tech tusks traced a path across borders through territory controlled by terrorist groups, a hidden economy he brought to light in the pages of National Geographic.
When asked about the progress of anti-trafficking efforts in a radio interview, Christy said actions like the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos are changing the world. “The marches that happen, that’s physically spreading the story.”
Marches and other public events are key to the global consensus against illegal wildlife trafficking, Christy said. Recently, for example, the U.S., the Philippines, Kenya, France and China have each held an “ivory crush” event to destroy stockpiles of elephant ivory and demonstrate a commitment to saving these majestic animals.
As part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to the United States, the United States and China announced September 25 an expanded and deepening partnership to combat the illegal ivory trade and wildlife trafficking.
In the United States, continuing criminal investigation Operation Crash has netted rhino horn traffickers and millions of dollars in seized assets.
Around the world, momentum is gathering. Tech giants such as Google, Facebook and eBay have joined the anti-wildlife trafficking procession. You can too at the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos. Trumpet your support on Twitter at #MarchAgainstExtinction and #GMFER.