The local version of the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos will take place at Grand Palm Hotel and Resort on October 10. The hotel management has offered the use of their lawn at no cost. The ambassador of the event is Thea Khama, who is also the wife to the Minister of Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama. Global March for Elephants and Rhinos (GMFER) organiser Samantha Kannemeyer revealed that is it has been established that an elephant is brutally killed every 15 minutes.
This definitely makes 100 in a day and at least 35 000 in a year. With less than 250 000 in the entire continent and with such a slow reproductive cycle, Kannemeyer said this then makes the outlook to be tragically bleak for elephants. “If we don't take action now to stop this massacre it will be too late to save them, they will vanish forever in less than 10 years,” she warned. Kannemeyer said as for rhinos they are poached every eight to 11 hours with an estimated 22 000 left in the world. She said over 100 rhinos were poached last year alone compared to 13 in 2007, which is quite a drastic increase.
The rate of killing continues to rise where rhinos also face extinction within a decade. South Africa has the highest number of poached rhinos. Currently as the statistics stands by the end of August 756 rhinos have been poached in Africa. Kannemeyer said it was too depressing since the death rate of the two animals has exceeded the birth rate. She said while they know that they are in a serious crisis situation with regard to the wildlife, they remain positive that they can make a difference. There will be a march and after that people will have the opportunity to relax and mingle as they celebrate the existence and the beauty that the wildlife brings.
Energym Health Studio will perform a warm up routine before the march and the monthly farmers market will be in attendance as well as entertainment, face paintings, jumping castle and prizes for best dressed up and homemade placard and banner. She added that food and beverages will be sold throughout the event from the premises. “However please bring plenty of cold water, hats and sunscreen for the actual march,” she advised. GMFER T-shirts will be on sale on the day for P100 each. Other stakeholders that are expected to have their stalls at the event in order to teach the people about the services that they offer are Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Mokolodi Nature Reserve, The Kalahari Conservation Society, Cheetah Conservation Botswana and the BSPCA.
Khama said whoever would want to be part of the march should come there and march for the voiceless, for those who cannot advocate for themselves while facing horrifically cruel deaths and extinction due to superstition and taste. According to Khama, this then fuels greed, pride, corruption sadism, indifference, ignorance, fear, hatred and terrorism. “We march to stop the power of White Gold, the ivory trade. We march to stop the trade in rhino horn held to have magical healing properties.” she said. Various experts are to share their knowledge.
“There are those in our number who understand wildlife biology and are experts in ecology while others are at home in fields such as sociology, political science, and law but not rendering help,” Khama said. She added that some of them come to elephant and rhino activism with no other training than a firm conviction of the right thing to do to prevent the extinction of elephants and rhinos in the wild in less than 10 years.
To date about 140 cities around the world have confirmed their participation in the march. The poaching of elephants and rhinos has reached unprecedented high in recent years as the demand for ivory and rhino horn has mainly sworn in China and other Asian markets.