Trophy Hunting and the Illegal Trade
Although it is illegal to trade ivory the Vietnamese illegal ivory trade is now one of the largest in the world. Of all the ivory industries in Asia, Vietnamese carvers have multiplied in number and increased their production of illegal ivory. Tusks are smuggled into Vietnam, nearly all from Africa and this has placed the African Elephant population in danger of becoming extinct. Legislation prohibiting the ivory trade in Vietnam remains unclear. A loophole in the law allows worked ivory crafted before 1992 to be legally sold in Vietnam however Nearly all the ivory items for sale in Vietnam are new or recently carved and illegal. Corruption and mismanagement in Vietnam have abetted this expanding and flourishing illegal ivory trade, allowing retail displays to remain wide open and enabling smuggling of the many Vietnamese-carved illegal new ivory items into mainland China.
Elephants are seen as endangered species although hunting Elephants is a legal practice in more than ten countries in Africa. Elephant hunting is done in South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, Cameroon, Botswana, Zambia, Gabon and Mozambique. Kenya has, however, legally stopped game hunting and is now on the effort to import wildlife to replace species that were hunted and wiped out.
Elephant ivory is a key source of funding for armed groups in central Africa.
How will Elephant species across the world survive the loopholes and corruption of those that have the power to protect and yet are not.
I have always been an animal lover and desperately wanted to get into Nature Conservation as a career when I was younger. This did not happen but my love and respect for the animal kingdom remains today. I have a degree in Political Science and History and after varsity started a 20 year long career in the book trade, both in Publishing & Retail. Today I work alongside my husband in his Share a Villa business which he started 18 years ago.
I am also a recovering addict. What started off as a 'let me try it' took me down a path of addiction, a very selfish, isolated and lonely place to be in. In recovery I am able to re connect to myself, my loved ones and the world at large. Ironically addiction today is very much the Elephant in the room. The press today dedicates much attention to the addiction of illegal substances and prescription pills but the reality is that most of us are addicted to something and that includes the illegal wildlife trade and end consumers who purchase ivory. Addiction is about behavior not necessarily the substance but the need for it. In order to break the cycle of addiction I had to take action and change the way I think and behave. My new philosophy and appreciation for life is taking me on a new life long journey of change and transformation. I believe that both taking action and being the change is essential to how we live with, treat and think about the Earth and life on Earth.
Like many of us I have have always been in awe of the majestic African Elephant and Elephants in general. Not only because they are the largest land animals on Earth , but their intelligence, extraordinary communication skills, strong sense of family and their uncanny ability to understand death fascinates me. I love that elephants have a matriarchal society. In South Africa our Elephant populations were almost wiped out by the 1890's but due to concerted conservation the numbers have improved substantially. Unfortunately that is not the case in the rest of Africa, where in many countries they are now extinct and endangered and their status dwindling. More action is required to ensure Elephant species survive.
To be involved in 'The Elephant Om' project is very exciting and I am looking forward to seeing where this journey will take me and hopefully you.