Africa's leaders take a major step toward making a difference to the conservation crisis

The history of the conservation movement shows that key influencers have a huge ability to make a contribution

Max Graham
Sunday 02 August 2015 20:08
Comments
Evgeny Lebedev, patron of Space for Giants, with the Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, as he signs up to the Giants Club
Evgeny Lebedev, patron of Space for Giants, with the Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, as he signs up to the Giants Club

The plight of African elephants is well documented and there is little doubt that at current rates of decline an animal that has existed for four million years could be gone in the wild in a few decades. I have spent more occasions than I care to remember standing over the putrid remains of a butchered elephant carcass, asking the question: how can this stop?

Fortunately there are lessons we can draw from the conservation movement. One of the most pertinent is the ability of key influencers to contribute.

In 1887, Theodore Roosevelt founded the Boone & Crockett Club, credited with protecting Yellowstone National Park and creating the US National Park and Forest Service. In 1892, John Muir founded the Sierra Club, which established Yosemite Valley National Park. In 1925 King Albert of Belgium established what is now Virunga National Park in the Congo, Africa’s first.

In 1967, President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania wrote the Arusha Declaration, the cornerstone of the Pan-African Initiative for Nature Conservation, stating that “wild creatures” were “an integral part of our natural resources and of our future livelihoods and wellbeing”.

In 2002, the late President Omar Bongo proved true to Nyerere’s words, establishing 13 national parks, covering 7,010,700 acres of Gabon. It is with this lesson that we today turn to Africa’s modern leaders, inviting them to form a club of their own that could take ownership of the solution to the poaching crisis.

It is through the collective power of Africa’s leaders to resource, to legislate and to enforce that we can secure the behaviour change needed to protect the continent’s elephants. Many have already heeded our call and so the work of the club begins. It is our hope that its legacy shall be wild African elephants, for Africans, forever.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in