A few years ago, whilst waiting for my cab at LAX, I witnessed a group of American men, pushing their suitcases and firearms, being welcomed home by their wives and children like heroes, as they excitedly regaled stories of how many lions they had each shot on their (canned) hunting trip to South Africa... My heart utterly broke.
How are conservationists to win the fight against illegal poaching, exhaustively educating the world with what little time we have left, that Africa’s most endangered animals, in their ever dwindling numbers, are #WorthMoreAlive, and that their mounted body parts are not symbols of wealth and prosperity - if on the other hand, the blood-thirsty elite are legally allowed to kill and display severed body parts of the exact same animals back in their homes, as a sign of their own ‘power’ and ‘prestige’ (or more likely, as I see it, as a sign of their small...)
In total, some 1.7 million wildlife trophies were legally traded between nations between 2004-2014, 200,000 of them from endangered species.
This was why, yesterday, I joined the Global #MarchAgainstExtinction to deliver an open letter signed by 175,000 people (including my faves, Jane Goodall and Born Free Foundation’s Virginia McKenna to Theresa May at 10 Downing Street, asking the British Government to take urgent action to ban the import of hunting trophies to the U.K, and to support efforts internationally to end this gruesome trade once and for all.
We also called upon the CoP delegates to: support the proposal to up-list elephants to Appendix I, reject the proposal from several southern African countries to re-open ivory trade, and reject the proposal to allow trade in the Southern White Rhino.
Without maximum protections by the global community and CITES, elephants, rhinos, lions, giraffes and all endangered megafauna face certain extinction in the wild.
Above: Outside 10 Downing Street with actor and animal rights activist Peter Egan, who I haven’t seen Peter since co-starrrrring in the 2007 British comedy, ‘Death at a Funeral.’
(*Kidding, I literally had one line in the entire film...)
It was an honour to stand and be counted alongside so many committed and passionate voices for endangered animals yesterday in London, whilst so many did the same thing back in my home town, Nairobi, Kenya.