Voice for Elephants

Kenya

About the Project

Last year we stood at the base of Mt Kenya, fully loaded for the climb to Lake Michaelson and my second attempt to kitesurf it’s unconquered waters. It just had to happen this time, not only because no-one likes to fail, but mainly because elephants don’t have long, with an estimated 360 elephants poached in Kenya in 2012. The inspiration for the stunt has come from a place of huge frustration: watching these elephants disappear, not to natural causes or as part of evolution, but viciously murdered simply for their tusks. They are born with them and have no choice but to wear them. What used to be a celebrated characteristic of the elephant for tourists and photographers worldwide is now a death sentence; once a baby elephant grows tusks they are automatically on the wanted list.

I sometimes find motivation by putting myself in their place. Imagine being randomly and viciously murdered just so ‘they’ can hack out our teeth and leave us to die in order to simply get rich. And what for: is there some Peter Pan, never grow old formula in these tusks or an instant cure for cancer? NO! Extensive research shows that it’s mainly used as a status symbol in China, the ’cool’ of having ivory around the house, for jewellery and crafts. It has recently been proved that China is the main culprit behind the mass murder of elephant and the power money behind most of the illegal trade. It makes me feel ashamed to be human when I think someone is encouraging and supporting the brutal murder of these majestic, emotional animals. It’s unacceptable… make an honest living like the majority of us! It’s pure greed and it’s disgusting! This is a sample of the thoughts that swirled around my head and helped me charge through the 3 day hike to the 4111m lake.

The motivation behind the stunt was to try and draw more attention to the endangered elephant issue and get people involved. It was also a personal challenge to prove to myself that it CAN be done, just as the elephant poaching CAN be stopped! This time I had back up in Shawn Richman all the way from Maui, Hawaii, one of the world’s best kitesurfers. I figured if I couldn’t do it… maybe he could? The peaceful private atmosphere at Lake Michaelson was as spellbinding as ever. Standing on its shore I felt like greeting an old friend. Its walls hugged Shawn and I as though welcoming and encouraging our attempt. It felt right to be up there. Odd to have such a frustrating and loud battle going on in my head and then to be placed in such a peaceful setting. Up on the mountain it’s as though the world’s problems can’t reach you and I couldn’t help but smile. This is what Kenya used to be for elephants, this was the feeling in their home, this magical peaceful space, before human greed threw a dark, twisted spin on things.  

Many said it wouldn’t be possible as there is only one gap in Michaelson’s high walled crater bowl that allows a direct wind to funnel across the lake, the chances of the wind being in that specific direction and with enough power to fill the kite and hold someone on top of the water is minimal. In addition, we could only carry enough supplies to sleep one night on her shores to wait for that slim chance. But… on the first morning it happened! We had been sat in launch position, patiently watching the hours slip by in the reflection of the clouds on the glass water, wet-suited up, bar in hand and kite pumped-up on standby. Then came the ripples scattering the mesmerising clouds. And before there was time to think I was moving across Michaelson’s flat waters… followed by an elated scream that bounced around her walls and back at me, desperately moving my kite to resist the freezing plunge below me. I looked up and felt reassured and safe, wrapped in Michaelson’s crater. It was a moment I shall never forget, more exhilarating than I had imagined, but most of all it proved to us that the impossible IS possible! Much thanks for this goes to Naish kiteboarding for supplying the equipment and believing in us.

Fired by this success and with huge support from Ben Simpson and Tropic Air helicopters, by the time we set off with our kit down the mountain we had managed to kite all 3 major lakes. Lake Alice (@3553), Michaelson (@4111) and Shawn had a great kite on Lake Ellis (@3,478m) all were incredibly rewarding. What a day to be on the mountain! I encourage everyone to try in any small way they can to put something, anything into getting the “SAY NO TO IVORY” message to China, every voice counts! Visit http://www.iworry.org/ to help us take a step forward for these elephants.

 

"All we could do now, is just hope that this story will reach someone, somewhere, and stop them from buying ivory."

 

About iWorry - One Every 15 Minutes


The iworry campaign calls on world governments to make the illicit ivory trade and wildlife crime a priority issue, to make a financial commitment to security enforcement and to impose a complete ban on all ivory sales.

As a field based organisation, the DSWT works on the front line to protect wildlife and prevent the suffering and killing of wild animals.  Recognising the need for greater global awareness of the illegal wildlife trade in ivory, which is claiming the lives of 36,000 elephants annually, the DSWT launched iworry in 2012.  The campaign is based on the premise that everyone has a stake in conserving elephants and that we must come together if we are to successfully educate and inform people as to the existence of the illegal ivory trade, the devastating toll it is having on elephant populations and through that, call on governments from around the world to take proactive steps to tackle this illicit trade and save elephants.

Sharing the evidence of poaching witnessed by DSWT teams in the field, iworry utilises social media, petitions, imagery, the press and public marches to create an awareness of the existence of the ivory trade and its impacts.  The loss of elephants in the wild, an iconic, intelligent and social species, would not only make the world a lesser place, it would have serious environmental and economic repercussions.

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Project Info

Project created by annacampbell

Website: http://www.annacampbell.tv/

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Project Activity

An anonymous user funded this project.

$4.50, March 7, 2017


An anonymous user funded this project.

$4.11, Jan. 13, 2017


An anonymous user funded this project.

$8.82, Dec. 11, 2016


An anonymous user funded this project.

$4.85, Dec. 2, 2016


An anonymous user funded this project.

$16.56, Oct. 3, 2016


An anonymous user funded this project.

$2.88, Aug. 9, 2016


An anonymous user funded this project.

$5.62, Aug. 2, 2016


An anonymous user funded this project.

$5.85, June 28, 2016