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NZ Joins Global Event on Endangered Species

NZ Joins Global Event on Endangered Species

Gordon Consulting

Over 130 cities across the globe, including Auckland and Wellington on Sunday 5th October, will participate in the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos. Set to be the largest demonstration of its kind ever, organisers aim to raise awareness about the rampant endangered wildlife trade. Presenting a globally united voice, they ask us all to shun ivory, rhino horn and lion bones as commodities and for every government to publicly destroy its stockpile of illegal wildlife products, to show zero tolerance for illegal trading.

Business magnate, Sir Richard Branson, has expressed support for the event saying, “lets stop the poaching and end the ivory trade for good.” British comedian, Ricky Gervais, pokes the stick at consumers, “how can we allow the extinction of 2 magnificent creatures for the sake of some morons owning tasteless trinkets or trying fake medicine." Adventurer Bear-Grylls, OBE and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Joanna Lumley, and renowned conservationists Ian Redmond and Dr Jane Goodall are amongst others supporting the event.

The Auckland event combines with the annual SPCA Great Animal Walk this year, and guest speakers will highlight the plight of endangered species, from the Maui’s dolphin to the globally iconic elephant, rhino and lion. Auckland event organizer, Ms Virginia Woolf says, “most people are shocked to hear that ivory is still traded in New Zealand. We have an unregulated ivory trade and a stockpile of over 700 illegal ivory items. It is really positive that Trademe have now banned the sale of ivory and other endangered species from their website. ”

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Guest speaker at the Auckland event and author of “A Report on the New Zealand Trade in Ivory,” Ms Fiona Gordon says, “it was a surprise to find that our re-exports of ivory have increased dramatically, with over 1200 pieces leaving the country in 2012 alone. And the first conviction for illegal ivory trading in New Zealand occurred just last year, and charges have been laid for illegal ivory trading this year too.” Ms Gordon adds that “ivory achieves high prices on the domestic market in New Zealand, there is clearly a demand for ivory here.”

Wellington event organizer, Ms Ashley Lady-Soul Strickland says, “raising awareness and killing the demand is a key part of the solution. Our nation can do far more to raise awareness and shun ivory as a commodity, even in our own backyard.”

For any New Zealanders unconvinced about the urgency for action, there’s certainly plenty of international data to look at - from the officially reported amounts of illegal ivory seized each year, to the flow of newspaper articles on rhino horn traffickers found blood-red-handed, and the population surveys from conservation agencies working on-the-ground in Africa.

Painfully clear from the data too is that even in this ‘modern age’ a rampant demand for freshly poached elephant ivory, rhinoceros horn, and lion bones, continues. It is the growing trade to feed that demand that is a key factor in the demise of the elephant, rhino and lion.

“Debating the statistics is no longer relevant,” event organizers say, “it doesn’t matter which data you choose to look at, there is no denying that the world is rapidly loosing elephants, rhino and lions towards extinction.” There are times when we have to make crucial decisions based on the information we’ve got. Event organizers are encouraging us to make a decision now, because there is no “later” for the elephants, rhinos and lions. “At the current rate of killing and with the growing demand for ivory, horn and bones, our children’s children are highly unlikely to see the most magnificent animals in the wilds of Africa” even t organisers say.


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