My last blog, Why Should I Care, listed various reasons WHY the poaching crisis matters. Now I want to share WHAT people like you and me can do about it.
Two years ago I was introduced to the subject of human trafficking. I’m not sure exactly how, but the realization that humans are being traded for sex and money disgusted me. I began telling my friends and family about this modern day slave trade, called & wrote to congress to pass TVPR S. 1301 (Trafficking Victims Protection Act), and blogged about it on my tumblr page. I supported victim rehabilitation through Love146 and Women of Vision Houston, and hosted a morning of prayer at my church. I have a strong sense of justice and am very disturbed when the powerless are exploited.
Around this same time, I also heard about the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Again, I’m not exactly sure how, but the realization that elephants (my all time favorite animals) were being senselessly destroyed for ivory (which only illicets funds for terrorism, human trafficking & the drug trade all of which negatively impact the lives of fellow human beings) moved me to action. To support Naipoki. I asked to sponsor her for my birthday present. It wasn’t a huge commitment (you can sponsor for as little as $50 USD a year) but it had huge dividends with all the proceeds going towards the care, feeding & rehabilitation of elephants, as well as the keepers costs and training. In return, I was sent a beautifully painted watercolor of the orphaned elephants, monthly updates on the Trust and particular updates on Naipoki.
Then last year, I had the opportunity to meet her.I was traveling to Kenya on a vision eye clinic trip (we ran clinics in Oloitokitok where we served over 1800 people in 5 days). On the way back to Nairobi, we stopped by the Trust during viewing hours. And I saw her. I picked Naipoki out before they even named her.
And then she walked up to me. The keepers said I could touch her if she approached. She did, not just once, but twice. My hands were caked with the mud from her recent romp, and my eyes were teary with joy. It was an unforgettable moment (much like this one).
I know that I can’t change the world. I can’t right all the wrongs. But I can make a difference for one. If everyone had that attitude, what sort of change might we see?
So what can you do? Sponsor an ellie. Or sign the petition to ban ivory in Thailand to save Africa’s elephants. Or tell your friends and family about this blog, raising public awareness. Or make art like Joshua Spies to share your passion. Or come up with creative ways to make a positive difference like Richard Turere. Or teach others like Celia Ho. The possibilities are endless. But it’s time to take the first step towards change.