It’s that time of the year again when conservationists, animal lovers and advocates, concerned parties and others, march to the streets as they spread awareness on the plight of elephants, rhinos and lions all across the globe.
Perhaps you have heard of it or took part in this walk from point A to B whichever part you may be in the world. Have you ever asked yourself why you or ‘they’, choose to decorate the streets with placards and banners all in chorus seeking justice for the entire wildlife population?
Read More: How it went down – GMFERL 2016 (Photos)
The Nairobi event does not occur only in one city across the world. The term ‘Global’ already sets itself apart as an event that has received recognition all across the world. The more than 130 cities across all continents involved may conduct themselves in different ways but they all have one goal to achieve; spreading awareness and a call to action for governments to protect the plight of the planet’s non-human species.
Elephants, rhinos, and lions are top on the list of wild animals on the verge of extinction. This is mostly due to threats caused by human activities such as land encroachment leading to habitat loss, poaching, sports hunting among others. The unpredictable weather conditions leading to drought in Sub Saharan Africa and Flooding in the Asian continent, where these species are predominantly found, also reduces the number of individual species.
So why march for these three species, why not all and why are we even marching in the first place?
More than a decade ago, wildlife may not have been well thought of by governments and its citizens, more so in developing countries. Wildlife was seen as a white man’s venture; a leisure activity only for the selected few. Seeking an animal’s right to life, even for those we keep at home as beloved pets, was not a deed everyone would support one on. Even the thought of working with and for was and still is considered peculiar.
Not everyone may agree with protecting animal rights, more so in developing countries where we face various challenges. As populations continue to grow, people need to be fed. We cannot say ‘let’s all be vegan for the sake of animals’, this would not make sense to a majority of people and a lot of opposition would arise. Even thinking about it brings the chills to many.
In a world where there are those who believe hunting protects wildlife and does not cause harm in any way and poached animal and plant goods are considered a luxury or medicine in some parts of the world, a lot needs to be done in terms of awareness. Awareness at both the grassroots and urban levels.
Elephants, rhinos, and lions are considered to be keystone species. Species that play a huge role in the ecosystem and losing them to extinction will cause a global ecosystem imbalance.
Ignorance is bliss, but what good does killing wildlife for only a few people help a country’s economy grow. Only a number of people will amass billions for themselves leaving those who depended on wild species for tourism and in some instances, resources, continue to live in poverty. What good does’ development proclaim to a country when years from now we begin to we realize we are no longer worthy of a country as what people came to see and admire no longer exist. When what we built with trillions has left the country in debt as we struggle to pay up with the human capital instead of part of the foreign exchange that the country received through tourism.
Remember, the plight of the Northern white rhino is at great risk. With only three left in the entire world is there hope for the sub-species? Black Rhinos are 696 while the Southern White total to 450 individuals. The lion population stands at less than 2000 in Kenya and 20000 in Africa. The elephant population may be rising in Kenya but with close to 32000 individuals more need to be done.
The lions are facing turmoil all across the continent because of their nature, to kill prey for food in order to sustain their lives. It doesn’t matter whether the prey is hard to catch such as gazelles or an easy target such as goats. All they need is food. Many lions have been killed by people because of preying on livestock which they depend on. In retrospect, human beings have lost their lives under the charging fight or flee response of these wild animals. People living with wildlife will attest to the pain and suffering these species have caused to their livelihoods as a result of human-wildlife conflicts. Yes, all these can be avoided. Where does it begin? By implementing the law, to begin with. We can also spread awareness and express to the government, as citizens, how serious we are and how serious they should be as well.
This particular march, the Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions, since its inception, the main goal stands at awareness. Not just awareness in Kenya and Africa at large, but the entire globe as well. Every year, the number of countries joining the march keeps growing. This offers hope to many. For people who may not know where to start but want to help in any way to protect wild species, this is a good place to begins. When one person chooses to attend the march, in most cases they will come with a plus one. The message then spreads to the specific households involved and our ignorance reduces.
The march also happens in the grassroots areas within the country. This mostly involves people who have lived and continue to live with wildlife. Including them in such activities ensures their vow to protecting wildlife because no one would kill something that they see has value to them as individuals and the country as a whole.
This a call to everyone in Nairobi and its environs to SHOW UP on the 7th of October at Nairobi National Museum as we join the world [herd] and FIGHT ON for the plight of elephants, rhinos, lions, and the entire animal kingdom. Let’s all proclaim Justice for Wildlife from today and even after the 7th.
Let us spread the message on why we should protect these species against global extinction.
Will you be there?