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Don’t let them disappear.

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Palma de Mallorca
30. May 2017
DSC_8445 Kopie
Tarifa
12. August 2017
Everyday I am spending in Kenya I fall more and more in love with elephants.

F or the Amarula Trust World Elephant Day, I was chosen as the only delegate from Germany in order to bring you the story of elephant poaching. Amarula and Wildlifedirect invited me to Kenya for activating the #Don'tLetThemDisappear Campaign. We've been exploring Kenya's Amboseli National Park, located in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro which is preventing home to one of the most famous elephant families in the world. We spent 3 days at the Nationalpark to experience the African elephants in their natural habitat.

A view from a morning drive...

... in Amboseli National Park. Powerful feelings that I just can't express in words. When we saw this in front of us, I said " Gosh, is this real life? This nature is unbelievable!" And my lovely colleague Marisé responded : " This is exactly how it should be in Africa. " variety with various animals and real wildlife. Unfortunately, fact is that every 15 min an elephant gets killed for their ivory. And there are only 350,000 elephants left in Africa...

BREATHE IT ALL IN. LOVE IT ALL OUT.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu (@paula_kahumbu ) is the CEO of Kenyan Conservation NGO WildlifeDirect and is leading the hard-hitting Hands Off Our Elephants Campaign with Kenya's First Lady Margaret Kenyatta. She guided and accompanied us while our stay and taught us everything about elephants. Dr. Paula Kahumbu is such a passionate, every day and lovely woman. In her childhood Paula met Richard Leaky who not only had inspired her to work with animals also he taught her everything about them. Dr Leakey is probably the person on this planet who has done most for the African elephants, when he in the 1980´s turned the fast extinction to a growth within the elephant population. In 1989 Dr Leakey was appointed the head of Wildlife Conservation in Kenya by President Daniel Arap Moi. Luckily Paula grew up with a privileged access to wildlife. After graduating high school, she knew she wanted to become a ranger to be in the field with wildlife. But consciously decided her way to support animals not as a ranger as she once was dreaming of but as a scientist as she believes that she could establish, safe and ensure the wildlife from this point of few with the knowledge that she collected in the progress from a different angle.

To her, it seems very natural that she would dedicate her life to protecting these animals.

#Dontletthemdisappear #MadeFromAfrica #Amarula

AN ELEPHANT NEVER FORGETS.

E lephants get old as humans. Imagine a 5 years old elephant getting shot for his teeth. Elephants are not only majestic and worth seeing from their breathtaking appearance they are well-known for their intelligence, close family ties, and social complexity. At the Amboseli National Park, every single Elephant has a name and is listed with photos at the research center. Elephants from a family have the same initial letters. This also generates respect for the killing of an elephant. You wouldn’t dare to do any harm to a creature that has a name.

Soila Saiyalel, who had studied these elephants for 27 yearst told us a amazing story about a family she's been watching for a long time. She works at the elephant research center which is run by the Amboseli Trust for Elephants.

She has been following an elephant family for a while until one of the family members died on senility. The elephants made a pit and buried the deceased elephant under palm leafs which they picked and collected from their surroundings to pay their last respects to him. The family left but every day they came back to this place. From this point you can imagine yourself why they did this. Elephants have a deep sense of emotional relationship to their family members.

They have a brain six times the size of a human brain and it’s just as complex. Their character is also very similar to that of the human being. Also these fantastic creatures do have great memories, and each one has their own personality. All elephant families in the park are in permanent contact all the time. Like all highly social mammals, elephants have a well-developed system of communication that makes use of all of their senses - hearing, smell, vision, and touch - including an exceptional ability to detect vibrations. They can hear and talk to other families as far as 14 km away.

It's difficult to understand or not even rudimentary to understand why people poach and kill them for their ivory.

Paula and Soila are passionately in love with these magnificent animals and are spreading so much love. Together with @Amarula_official, they teamed up to not only raise the awareness on elephant poaching also to seek to change hearts, minds, and laws to ensure to Africa's critical species endure forever.

I am so grateful to have met such a powerful, passionated and inspirational woman. She really changed my heart and my whole view on life.

BACKGROUND

Africa is home to the most iconic wildlife. But illegal poaching might destroy it forever.

P eeps, I am not that minded in numbers and historical background but the following informations are necessary to understand the sense behind this immense story and why so many are supporting this with so much engagement and love. Here is some history around ivory poaching.

In 1879, the African elephant population was estimated to be around 1.3 million, but by 1989, only 600,000 remained, primarily as a result of international trade in ivory. It is estimated that 75,000 African elephants were killed for the ivory trade annually, worth around 1 billion dollars. Today, there are only 350,000 elephants left in Africa and ivory is illegally exported around the world mainly to Asia. The explosive increase in poaching is a result of the increasing demand and the horrendous amounts paid for some game animals on the black market. In the bloody business with rhino and ivory, international criminals are involved. The total value of illegal trade in wild species is estimated at up to € 20 billion per year. Poaching and smuggling with illegal wildlife products are part of the fourth largest crime worldwide behind trade in drugs, counterfeit products and people. Most of the Ivory goes to Japan and China. Asian countries, where they will be processed to postage stamps, jewelry etc. as a symbol of wealth. Ivory not only lands in developing countries.

In 1998 the government of Kenya burned 105 tonnes of ivory in Nairobi National Park. And it was Richard Leakey who persuaded the president to burn the ivory. Due to his work it has been a massive global political statement. It’s a technique used by governments and conservation groups to deter the poaching of elephants for their tusks and to suppress the illegal ivory trade. As of 2016, more than 263 tonnes of ivory has been destroyed, typically by burning or crushing, in these high-profile events in 21 countries around the world. Kenya held the first event in 1989, as well as the largest event in 2016 when a total of 105 tonnes of ivory were incinerated. Thanks to this event in 1998 the elephant population recovered. In 2002, when the population of these majestic creatures regenerated and recovered again because of strict laws and use of aid projects and Asian countries like Japan and China wanted to poach elephants again and the demand for ivory started to rise once again. As their argument was that the elephants regenerated again. So after all this they started a one off sale to Japan. You see, it is still a fight or better war about this ivory. Killing thousands of elephants for their ivory to use it for stamps, to represent the wealth of people around the world.

Amarula is a brand from South Africa. So why do they want to save the elephants in Kenya?

„Through our shared African roots and the unique Marula fruit, which is also a delicacy for elephants as well Amarula and the elephants have always been intimately connected. This is why in 2002 the Amarula Trust was created with the aim of safeguarding our majestic African creatures. In 2016 the Amarula Trust formed a partnership with Wildlife Direct and its dynamic CEO, Dr. Paula Kahumbu, with the shared vision to drive conservation through education. With less than 350 000 elephants left in Africa, we are working together to help protect them and our heritage – so that in years to come, we can continue to meet these majestic creatures beneath the Marula tree.“

SEE IT. LEARN IT. FEEL IT. And then you will understand why.

B efore I came to Africa, I was already motivated and happy to support this campaign as I love these wild animals creatures and the vibe of Africa. However, when I saw the difference between Africa and the world that I'm used to with my own eyes, I could finally understand the sense behind this cause a lot more. It's a fascinating world that we need to protect to ensure the beauty and variety of our planet. I am so happy to have had a closer look at this wonderful world with people so passionate about helping the animals and sharing their knowledge to help me understand the reality about ivory poaching. I will definitely keep on posting about this project.

What a wonderful world we are living in. Africa left me speech- and breathless.

T his is my first time visiting Africa and I am so happy to experience the beauty of this continent in such a like minded atmosphere. It’s been magical to see the various animals in such an extraordinary landscape and in their natural habitat.. I knew Africa from movies like Lion King with which I grew up with so I expected my imagery of Africa to be very childish. But Disney didn’t disappoint me in this topic. ( For the first time ever, haha. )

GO WHERE YOU FEEL THE MOST ALIVE.

E veryday we had 2-3 Safaris. The ones in the morning where we left the lodge at 6 have been amazing. Watching the silhouettes of the animals in the sunrise until the light makes the creatures and the landscape appear in full shape has been breathtaking. I will never forget these moments and I will come back as this is an experience that makes you feel united with the world and mother nature.
I asked Paula what I, or WE can do as a young people being in Germany to help her out there saving the elephants and support her work? I think transparency via Social Media, mobilizing the public is of course the first step and very important to spread the facts about the problem. But what can I really do afterwards?

„German people should reject the ivory trade by refusing to buy it and publically stating that they will not buy ivory. They can do this via social media. They can also write to their representatives and ask Germany and the European Union to ban ivory trade and give elephants the highest level of protection They can also support conservation efforts in Africa by supporting organiztions like WildlifeDirect by making a donation on www.WildlifeDirect.org “

A part of us remains wherever we have been.

T hanks to Amarula and Wildlifedirect to be part of their work which makes me so proud and happy.

The steps and work of them have already started bearing good fruits. I am hoping to achieve sustainable goals for the iconic wildlife in Africa even if it takes more time, struggle and patience. That one day our wildlife will be not disappearing and the next generation after us still can enjoy the wonders of the true wildlife.

Now I will stop talking, enjoy the photos from my journey and get fascinated by the beauty of Africa and their majestic creatures.

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