RIP Wayne Lotter 🏼
The head of an animal conservation NGO who had received numerous death threats has been shot and killed by an unknown gunman in Tanzania.
Wayne Lotter, 51, was shot on Wednesday evening in the Masaki district of the city of Dar es Salaam. The wildlife conservationist was being driven from the airport to his hotel when his taxi was stopped by another vehicle. Two men, one armed with a gun opened his car door and shot him.
Lotter was a director and co-founder of the PAMS Foundation, an NGO that provides conservation and anti-poaching support to communities and governments in Africa. Since starting the organisation in Tanzania in 2009, he had received numerous death threats relating to his work.
Beyond World Elephant Day.
Less than 400,000 African elephants and 40,000 Asian elephants remain globally. And they’re not just threatened because of our thirst for ivory - they are also killed for meat and other body parts (parts of 4,600 African elephants were imported by trophy hunters between 2005 and 2014 in the U.S. alone) and in Asia, calves are still captured from the wild and sold into the tourism industry.
But even if poaching were to become a thing of the past, there are greater problems to overcome if elephants are to survive for generations to come - the most pressing of which is the loss of precious habitat and our ever growing human population. So what is the solution if we are to prevent what some scientists predict - that elephants will become extinct in 20 years?
traders are stockpiling their ivory waiting for prices to go up again and Vietnam is increasing its production of illegal ivory items faster than anyone else in the last decade. And if other countries are taking similar positive action as China, the U.K. lags behind - it quietly dropped its previous commitment to ban the trade, despite a very public and popular petition calling for our domestic ivory market to be shut down. Meanwhile a shocking report out this week documents that the U.K. is the world’s largest legal ivory exporter, with more than 36,000 ivory items being exported between 2010 and 2015.
In the words of Max Graham, CEO of Kenyan-based conservation charity Space for Giants: “We are very far indeed from calling the poaching crisis over. At the same time elephants face multiplying problems... Finding the best answers to those knotty problems will not be achieved by governments alone, or scientists alone, or by celebrities or philanthropists or businesses alone. It will be done by all of those people working together."
~ Liz Bonnin Science and natural history presenter and Terrific Scientific ambassador
#trunkupwines LOVES This #Transformation Thursday, swipe through to see Turkwel’s progress over the past eight years!
Photo 1: Turkwel was found alone in a high tribal conflict zone near the Wei Wei River. It’s a miracle that she was able to survive there at all; most elephants in the area become collateral damage in the hostilities. As we moved in to rescue her, we could hear gunshots in the distance. Despite the human violence she must have witnessed, Turkwel was immediately very trusting of her new DSWT family.
Photo 2: Turkwel became best friends with Kainuk (the smaller elephant pictured, who we also featured as last week’s #tbt!). We actually suspect that both elephants may have known each other prior to being rescued, as Kaikuk is another survivor from the South Turkana Game Reserve.
Photo 3: Turkwel emerged as a very caring elephant, never too busy to give the younger orphans some love and reassurance. Here, she envelops baby Barsilinga in a trunk hug.
Photo 4: In 2013, Turkwel – alongside her best friend, Kainuk – graduated to our Ithumba Reintegration Unit. She is making marvelous progress here, learning the ropes to live a wild life and enjoying all the soil dusting possibilities to be had!
Your support makes it possible for us to rescue more elephants like Turkwel. Want to help? Donate at:
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