A Year in Review: The Year of the Elephant
2014 was dubbed by many elephant advocates around the globe as the Year of the Elephant. Why?
Studies show that right now more elephants are being killed than are being born - that every 15 minutes one elephant is killed for their ivory tusks (that’s 96 elephants a day!) At this rate, the iconic and keystone species will be extinct as early as 2025.
Hence 2014 became the year of the elephant - a year to raise global awareness about this hideous crime against nature and Africa in an effort to stop the killing.
But let’s back up for a moment to January 2014.
Elephantopia started the year off as a personal blog and Facebook page of Elizabeth Chitwood. The goal? To share news stories to a wider web audience and to educate the public about importance of elephants to our ecosystem. Elephantopia even started a petition to Pope Francis that received nearly 12,000 signatures. It was mailed in the beginning of 2014 and Elizabeth called & emailed the Vatican…but with no response. Even Jamie Joseph interviewed Elizabeth for her story on God’s Ivory covered by the Huffington Post calling on the Pope to respond!
Elizabeth was contacted by a small group of people in Houston who asked if she wanted to take Elephantopia to the next level - to become a registered nonprofit that could help Save Elephants and Build Community. An Indiegogo campaign was launched to raise funds for this venture. The campaign was a huge success and we were able to cover all costs for state and federal paperwork AND begin a partnership owith GRI Elephant Orphanage in Zambia. By November of 2014, we were granted 501(c)3 status by the Internal Revenue Service.
Web-awareness and education is a great way to reach tens of thousands of people around the world with information, news, facts and action opportunities for elephants. But we also wanted to make a tangible difference for elephant victims of the ivory trade in Africa.
So we partnered with GRI Elephant Orphanage in Zambia to fully sponsor and care for Kavalamanja and her keepers. Through crowdfunding with people like YOU,
we’ve raised $9,000USD
for GRI since June 2014. We also sent YOUR thank you letters to rangers who put their lives at risk every day to protect Africa’s wildlife. GRI sent us photographs of the rangers receiving their thank you letters HERE. We’re so excited to see how we can continue to care for Kavala & the rangers at GRI in 2015 among other projects in Zambia.
Elephantopia participated in the second annual Global March for Elephants and Rhinos sponsoring an event in Houston, TX help spread the word - that IVORY KILLS, and to STOP THE KILLING we must STOP THE BUYING and call for a global IVORY BAN.
This January 17, 2015, Elephantopia is going to be meeting in Houston with new elephant advocates including Journey to Africa (and you’re welcome to attend, too - details on time/location HERE). We’re excited to have a day of vision planning to see how Elephantopia can continue to save elephants through community - because as Hellen Keller once said,
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
P.S. I’d like to have a huge shout-out of THANKS to the friends on the board of Elephantopia - we are a fully volunteer-run organization! Everyone — from our Founder and President to our members at large — volunteers their time. THANK YOU!!!