Tasks?…Tusks?…

Well, other than the spelling, the difference between tasks and tusks is that the former are for people and the latter are for elephants. What is this blogger on about? you ask. Hang in there, dear reader, and you’ll find out.

I remember having many conversations with my professor about poaching in Kenya. He often asked me why our leaders did not seem alarmed by the rate at which our wildlife was declining. “These leaders barely care about Kenyans, what more of animals?” was my typical response. Harsh? Maybe, but it is difficult to believe that they care about anyone or anything, other than themselves, with the way they carry on. Between constantly campaigning and advocating for idling allowance, among others, is there really room on their overflowing plates for desires other than greed? But I digress.

Back to the elephants. My professor was of the opinion that the only deterrent for poaching is to make it a crime punishable by life imprisonment. I think he was on to something there. Currently the maximum fine for poaching is Ksh 30,000 or $344. Can you believe that!? That is pocket change considering the fact that poachers get around $2000 for a kilo of ivory. We need a more effective punishment for poaching because this lenient $344 fine will not protect our wildlife. If we don’t do something about it now then in 10 years there will no elephants left in Kenya. If that doesn’t cause you to be concerned then I don’t know what will.

Kenyans have started a “Save Our Heritage” campaign to save the elephants and I urge you to join and support in any way you can. Here is where you can sign the petition to stop the slaughter of elephants. The petition will be delivered to President Uhuru who in his inauguration speech said, “My fellow Kenyans, poaching and the destruction of our environment has no future in this country. The responsibility to protect our environment belongs not just to the government but to each and every one of us.” Let us remind him of his pivotal role in protecting our wildlife. You can also follow the conversation about poaching and saving our heritage, and get updates on progress that is being made with the campaign on Twitter and Facebook. You can add your $0.02, or $1 if you will, to the online discussions using the hashtags #SaveourheritageKE and #Handsoffourelephants.

You might be thinking, “It’s just elephants, what’s the big deal?” Well, the elephants are part of our heritage and we must protect them. If that doesn’t tag at your heartstrings then think of it in terms of the disruptions it causes to the economy. This is not only in terms of tourism but also the number of tourism-related businesses and jobs that will be lost if we our elephants continue to be slaughtered.

Hats off to all the people who are working tirelessly to save our elephants and the creative minds behind the many infographics (such as this one) and anti-poaching pictures (like the one below) that I have seen on the interwebs.

Picture made for the Save Our Heritage Campaign by Murage Gichobi
Picture made for the Save Our Heritage Campaign by Murage Gichobi

And you poachers and wannabe poachers…STOP IT! Why don’t you redirect the time, effort and money you invest in poaching to legitimate businesses!? If you are really interested in tusks then maybe you should ask to come back as an elephant in your next life.

 

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