Hello again from Nigeria.
I know you just heard from me earlier this week, but I wanted to give you an additional update on our efforts in Nigeria. Just yesterday this news article was published Thailand Seizes More Than 450k Worth of Elephant Tusks . What it makes clear, that even with recent events in China to limit the ivory trade, the need for vigilance remains stronger than ever to bring an end to the black-market trade in ivory. The tusks referenced in the story originated in Nigeria and highlights the need for quick action in the country which The Elephant Project is working to help enact.
When I posted this article yesterday, it was amazing how many people, including Nigerians, said that there were no elephants in Nigeria and thought that I was crazy. This just simply points out the critical importance of what we are doing in the country – if people don’t know elephants exist in the country how can people be persuaded to help them. Only by shining the light on a problem can people see the need to fix it.
Working with our Advisory Board member Nigerian Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, we are developing a series of solutions to help stop the slaughter of the 350 forgotten elephants left in the country. But like many countries where elephants are in peril, there are immense challenges – but we are optimistic that with Senator Murray-Bruce’s support we can have an impact.
There are many components to our efforts in Nigeria but the top three are:
1) Increase awareness of the plight of these elephants and hopefully through that increased awareness will come the grassroots and political support necessary to implement these solutions. This will be accomplished through digital and social media, outreach to news outlets both in and out of Nigeria, and hopefully through documentary and film efforts.
2) Working with the government to increase eco-tourism opportunities which will include lessening visa restrictions for people to visit the country and pushing for tax, regulatory and security changes that will allow for the growth in eco-tourism businesses – which will also help benefit Nigerians. Our philosophy is simple, show people that a live elephant has more value to them personally than a dead elephant and they will work to protect them.
3) Working with the government, and other NGO’s, to ensure that Nigeria meets its mandates and responsibilities set forth in the CITES treaty. Meeting these mandates are critical to the long term protection of elephants, and other imperiled species in the country.
There is much work to be done, but with your support, we are making progress.
Thanks again for your generosity,
All the best,