Did you know, that August 12th is the World Elephant Day?
Kenya is home to the African Elephant, and there has been an uproar because of the poaching menace of the Elephant which has been on the increase in Kenya , and in Africa as a whole.
The African Bush Elephant, of the genus Loxodonta Africana is currently the largest land mammal on Earth. Also classified as the largest Proboscid from the taxonomical order Proboscidea, the Elephant weighs an average of 4.5 -7.8 tonnes and stands at 13-16 feet tall!
Conservation campaigns are many , backed with slogans such as “STOP THE BLOODY HORN TRADE” and “IVORY BELONGS TO THE ELEPHANTS” taking the day. The First Lady of the Republic of Kenya, H.E. Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta is at the forefront of the elephant and wildlife conservation in light of the widespread wildlife animals’ poaching which threatening our already endangered species. Note that, poaching of the elephant and other wildlife animals is not only a threat to the tourism sector of Kenya, but is also endangers the heritage of our wild Jungle in Africa.
So, what can we do about this?
I met up with Wildlife Photographer Karue Wachira, who loves the wild and has a particular soft spot for the Elephants.
To honour these docile and peaceable beauties of the wild, Karue has organized the “STOP IVORY TRADE PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION” in conjunction with the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) and the Sarova Salt Lick-Taita Hills- Tsavo, to help raise awareness on the illicit nature of poaching and ivory trade. This anti-poaching campaign for the Elephant will be held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) in the heart of Nairobi,from the 12th August 2013- you guessed right, on World Elephant Day.
Karue Wachira describes himself as an artist , an avid traveler and a lover of poetry: Light is his ink and the camera his pen: Light is his paint and the camera his brush.
Having grown up near a hill with a scenic waterfall, Karue’s sense of wander began as a little boy : He would often take posters of wildlife animals from the calendar , frame them and sell them. The former Graphics designer love for photography was harnessed through his love for nature. Always armed with this camera, Karue who began photography in 2011,hosted a “Butterfly Photography Expo” at the Karura Forest, in which he says” I realized I had so many photos of the butterflies during my walks at the Karura Forest, sharing it with the world was inevitable”. Karue donated 30% of the proceeds from the sales to the Friends of Karura Forest towards conservation efforts of the forest.
Through the #Tembea Kenya Initiative, a product of Kenya Tourism Board, Karue Wachira was able to traverse throughout the country from Samburu to Taita to the Maasai Mara. It is during these trips that He realised what he really wanted to do, and that is wildlife photography.
He describes the elephants as:
- Very strong yet very gentle.
- They are very friendly and will raise their trunk towards you to say Hi*
- When feeling threatened, they will warn you off their territory by first flapping their ears at you. If you don’t move off their territory, the Elephant will raise its trunk and trumpet, before it charges at you.
- The Matron (Mother Elephant) is very nurturing and will protect her calves at all costs.
Over the years, the African Elephant has been at risk of endangerment and its population is rapidly dwindling. Continuous Poaching for the Elephants is a practice that must come to halt in order to preserve these friendly and peaceful mammals. The Elephant Tusk is favoured for soft texture and is very durable. It lacks the outer coating of enamel, which makes it excellent for carving ornaments and other prized possessions.
“Did you know, the Elephant has to die to give you the Ivory?” states a very concerned Karue.
The Kenya Wildlife Service indicates in the year 2013, Kenya has lost 137elephants as of August this year: Of these, 80 elephants were killed outside protected zones and 57 elephants were killed in protected zones such as National Parks .
The “STOP IVORY TRADE PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION” is set to create awareness on poaching of the elephant and the illegality of the Ivory trade that will deplete the earth off the elephants if it doesn’t come to a stop. Karue Wachira will display several of his photographs that are up for sale at the Expo and 60% of the proceeds will go to “A Walk with the Rangers” conservation efforts by renown conversationalist Raabia Hawa.
More details on the “STOP IVORY TRADE PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION”:
Entry is Free to the General Public.
Wonder why we need to protect the elephant?
Here is a sneak peek into the exceptional Photography by Karue Wachira. It is the centrepiece and message of the whole exhibition, and his reason for hosting the Exhibition. We need to preserve and protect our elephants, so that they do not walk towards the sunset of their life.
Karue Wachira’s passion for the Elephant survival is evident, and lastly,He encourages us by this:
“DO YOUR SMALL THING FOR CONSERVATION. DONATE, SUPPORT, WORK IN THE CONVERSATION FIELD IN ORDER TO PROTECT OUR ELEPHANTS AND WILDLIFE ANIMALS. OUR UNIQUE EFFORTS, TOGETHER, CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.”
See you at the Expo!