Oliver Duff

i Editor's Letter: How you can help to save the African elephant

 

Share

 

You can do the maths: six tons of angry grey muscle versus two tons of truck. The bull elephant bellowed, kicked up great pillars of dust off the road, then charged at us, ears flared, trunk high. No room to turn – a foot either side of the jeep, the road dropped off steeply into marsh. All our driver could do was floor it in reverse, try to ignore the fast-advancing elephant and keep us out of the soup. Even the camp warden, who was with us on patrol, had eyes like saucers. I can still remember the beast’s stink, six years on. Its terror, and majesty, left their mark.

In the time between me writing and you reading this letter, another 100 African elephants will have been killed for their tusks – the slaughter is 36,000 elephants a year, now, and rising fast. The cost is human, too, which is why we have chosen to make this issue our Christmas charity appeal.

The revenue from blood ivory is fuelling war and terrorism, notably al-Shabaab, the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Janjaweed. Outgunned by the new poaching militias, wildlife rangers are losing their lives trying to protect Africa’s natural heritage. People are being killed and driven from their homes because of the demand for ivory from the booming Chinese middle-classes.

The charity we support this year, Space for Giants, is lean, nimble and makes a difference, marrying world-class researchers with African communities who live with elephants in their midst. Together they have cut illegal elephant killings by 64 per cent in the areas where they work. The charity has no paid employees or overheads in the UK, and every penny we raise will go straight to the frontline of anti-poaching, with nothing spent on administration costs.

Our coverage over the coming days will look at the challenges facing one of Earth’s most iconic and charismatic creatures, the terrible impact its slaughter is having on people and the environment, and the success of Space for Giants.

Our correspondents around the world will investigate the criminal nexus and supply lines running from the African bush to the modern ivory houses of the Far East. Please do help in any way you feel you can, be that donating (every pound will reach activists in the field), sharing knowledge of the campaign and our charity auction, and suggesting stories for our coverage. Together we can help to cut this slaughter – and the human corruption and conflict it fuels – at source.

i@independent.co.uk

Twitter.com: @olyduff

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

The Jenrick Group: Resident Maintenance Manager

£50000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Resident Maintenance...

Recruitment Genius: Front End Web Developer

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Back End Web Developer

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

The Jenrick Group: Electrical Maintenance Engineer

£36500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Electrical Maintenan...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Elton John and David Furnish finalise their marriage paperwork  

Don't be blinded by the confetti — the fight for marriage equality in the UK isn't over yet

Siobhan Fenton
Freeman, centre, with Lord Gladwyn, left, and Harold Wilson on the programme The Great Divide in 1963  

John Freeman was a man of note who chose to erase himself from history

Terence Blacker
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'