Leaders share five big ideas to save elephants

By Jamie Joseph

To mark World Elephant Day (August 12), Jamie Joseph speaks to thought leaders including Jane Goodall and Helen Clark. What are our best hopes for saving elephants from extinction?

Elephants - in Kenya, here, and around the world - are at serious risk of extinction. Photo / Getty Images
Elephants - in Kenya, here, and around the world - are at serious risk of extinction. Photo / Getty Images

World Elephant Day (August 12) is an appeal to all global citizens to help protect elephants from numerous threats. As an independent writer, and now full-time correspondent on the poaching crisis, my personal contribution is to investigate all possible solutions to combat this vile, illegal trade - including by interviewing some of the world's most respected thought leaders.

Dr Jane Goodall: Transform anger into a force for good

"The only way to turn anger into something good is to be doing something to try and prevent such an atrocity happening again. That's the only way, to feel that you're using all your energy to stop it happening again."

Dr Jane Goodall is a UN Messenger of Peace. She spoke to Jamie Joseph during a visit to Auckland in June. Read the full interview in Element.

Helen Clark inspects an ivory stockpile in Tanzania. Photo / savingthewild.com
Helen Clark inspects an ivory stockpile in Tanzania. Photo / savingthewild.com

Helen Clark: Empower rural communities

"It is shocking, and yet almost comprehensible when we think of the lengths people will go to in order to feed their children. Addressing rural poverty and creating opportunities for sustainable livelihoods are critical elements in turning the tide on wildlife poaching."

United Nations Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark spoke to Jamie Joseph in July. Read the full interview on savingthewild.com.

Peter Knights: Reduce demand

"We spent trillions of dollars in the war on drugs, we have the most draconian of penalties including the death penalty, all the resources and sophisticated gear we could dream of, and it has been an epic failure.

"So why do we think - using the smallest fraction of those resources - we're going to win the war on poaching by solely investing in enforcement?

"Wildlife goods are not addictive. It's not associated with poverty and despair and it's not mind-altering. Curbing the trade should be more susceptible to a demand-side approach."

WildAid Executive Director Peter Knights spoke to Jamie Joseph in August.

Damien Mander: Give rangers military leftovers

"We ask, and it just goes around in circles. It's incredibly frustrating, especially since these same components are being employed by criminal syndicates to destroy our natural world."

Damien Mander is the founder of the International Anti Poaching Foundation.

Brent Stirton: Involve religious leaders

"Religion is a major player in this. We've ignored it, we've accorded religion too much respect in this regard, and we've placed devotion above slaughter."

Brent Stirton, a documentary photographer, helped expose the ivory trade in Christian and Buddhist religious objects for National Geographic. The quote above comes from an interview with Getty Images.

In October, Jamie Joseph will join the rangers in Africa on the frontline, writing 'stories from the trenches' - follow her journey.

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