At one point, elephant numbers were more than the entire human population. They roamed the savanna and forest freely. There was no major threat from human beings. Human’s are very adaptive beings as time has shown. Cities have collapsed but others with more promising features have risen. Even though we are ‘superior’ to other species, this does not warrant humans to result to the extinction of species.
Amarula Trust in conjunction with WildlifeDirect, a non-profit organisation presided over the melting of an ice-sculpture the size of a fully-grown elephant to commemorate World Elephant Day.
The event was held at DusitD2, on River Side Drive in Nairobi. Global brand, Amarula launched the “Don’t Let Them Disappear” campaign in South Africa, a joint initiative with African wildlife conservation organisation, WildlifeDirect. Various other countries, including South Africa, Canada, Brazil and Germany also participated in the global campaign.
Dr Paula Kahumbu, a foremost authority on African elephants and CEO of WildlifeDirect said: “What many people don’t realise is that the future of the African elephant is at a tipping point, and this could have a far-reaching effect on the greater African habitat because elephants are keystone species. This means that they play an indispensable role in the healthy functioning of the larger ecosystem.”
If elephants were to disappear off the face of the earth, the ecosystem would change dramatically or cease to exist altogether. This might be a reality at the rate that things are going – around 96 African elephants are poached for their ivory every day, that’s one elephant every 15 minutes.
Humans have poached animals into extinction throughout history, with large mammals been most affected. Elephants, one of Africa’s most iconic giants are the largest land mammals on Earth, part of the big five and are estimated to live for up to 70 years without human interference. Yet, they face extinction due to poaching. With the last few remaining species of giant mammals, including elephants largely confined to Africa, it’s up to humans to know better and do better. World Elephant Day, an international annual event that takes place on 12 August is dedicated to raising awareness about the preservation and protection of elephants.
The elephant may be the focal point but they aid in many other species surviving.
During the occasion, an ice sculpture of a life-size elephant appeared and slowly melted, dramatically symbolising the disappearance of the elephant population. This is expected to lead to mass awareness and was witnessed by people from different cities around the world who also watched ice elephants slowly disappearing in respective cities.
Spectators were encouraged to join the experience and spread the message on social media by using the hashtags #DontLetThemDisappear and #WorldElephantDay. These are hashtags which can be used even after the day to continue to raise awareness.
Global Brand Development Manager at Amarula, Saramien Dekker hoped the giant installation would be a captivating symbol to raise awareness. “Amarula has been committed to elephant conservation since 2002, through our non-profit organisation, The Amarula Trust. We believe that collectively we can make a difference and that the biggest barrier is the lack of education and awareness around how important elephants are as a keystone species. We need the public to become aware of our future without elephants and understand that only if elephants thrive, so do we.”
The proudly African brand has launched various initiatives to raise awareness for the conservation of the African elephant and plans to continue their work in this field.