Today to commemorate World Elephant Day, here’s a few of my favourite elephant photos in celebration of this amazing animal… In about a week’s time I’m going to be announcing my next safari in Africa – and it’s in the home of the world’s largest population of elephants…. Can you guess where it might be?
Now I’m off to the Serengeti to see if I can find some elephants to celebrate in person…. Apparently there’s the odd wildebeest and zebra come to town too for one of the biggest migrations on the planet. Back real soon…. Happy World Elephant Day! Share this with someone else who loves elephants.
What have elephants got to do with football and martial arts? Well more than you might think!
Thailand has long been a hot spot for the illegal ivory trade, which is why the Let Elephants Be Elephants team targeted this country for the next phase of our campaign. We have seen some stronger measures in Thailand in the last year, including changes to the legislation around ivory and a public ivory stockpile destruction by the government, but there is still much to be done to raise awareness of the issue in Thailand.
Let Elephants Be Elephants is very proud to be a partner in WildAid‘s new campaign to stop ivory trade in Thailand – Be Ivory Free. The Thai soccer team, the ‘war elephants’, along with Thai Hollywood martial arts star Tony Jaa, are the ambassadors for this campaign locally, encouraging people all across the country to say no to ivory. The core message is that success is achieved through hard work, not by wearing ivory from poached elephants. Take a look at the advertisements going out this week below.
You can do your part to spread the word by going to Let Elephants Be Elephants’ Facebook site and sharing the advertisements far and wide across your social networks. If you have connections in Thailand, please send these messages directly to them. And of course, as always, never buy ivory when you are visiting Thailand or any other country. Let’s keep up the momentum and make sure everyone knows that it’s not cool to wear ivory!
It’s been a while coming, but much goes on behind the scenes when it comes to developing awareness programs for species like elephants and rhinos in Asia. Those of you who know me personally know that the awareness raising never stops when it comes to elephants and the ivory trade. Last week, my conservation safari group of Singaporeans, British and Aussies talked at length about conservation and what still needs to be done while deep in the desert dunes of the Skeleton Coast, inspired by the arid-adapted wildlife of Namibia and those magnificent desert-dwelling elephants. Next week I’ll be in Brisbane talking to about 200 Queensland business women at the Australian Women in Leadership symposium about what we can learn from elephants about leadership (and of course, how we can help the elephants too). Even though we’ve made good headway lately, we can’t afford to lose momentum and we need you to keep spreading the word too.
I’ve spent much time thinking about and talking to others in the know about how to have the most meaningful impact for this cause in the last year. Sometimes it’s more impactful to team up with other organisations that are getting results than to go it alone. I’m very excited to say that the Let Elephants Be Elephants campaign (LEBE) is now teaming up with global wildlife trade organisation WildAid and the Thai soccer team, known as the ‘War Elephants’, to raise awareness of the illegal ivory trade in Thailand.
If you’ve signed the pledge to say no to ivory at the LEBE website, you will have received our latest newsletter today announcing this new partnership. Just in case you missed it, here it is below as well. The ads will be released in the coming months and spread across Thailand, so please help us spread the word by sharing our posts on the campaign in your social media networks.
It’s that time of year again, and it seems to have crept up so quickly (or maybe I’m just getting old!). Now at the end of our second year in business at Matson & Ridley Safaris, Andy and I wanted to thank you for your support and to wish you a wonderful Christmas and new year. I’ve put together this short video (scroll down to see it), which I hope you’ll enjoy, sharing a few special memories of my adventures with you in the last couple of years in Botswana, Kenya and Namibia. Thanks to all who shared their photos for this, but in particular a big thanks to all the people who made these journeys so wonderful in Africa’s most incredible wild destinations!
For me, it’s a real joy to be able to reflect back and know that our fledgling safari business is helping support so many worthwhile on-ground conservation initiatives, from the Save The Rhino anti poaching efforts in Namibia, to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the Mara Naibosho Lion Project. Those who come on my safaris often get to meet some of the dedicated people behind these operations.
And of course, just by supporting Matson & Ridley Safaris, you’ve helped me continue to keep spreading the word in the Let Elephants Be Elephants campaign, around Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Australia and even in my new base in the Netherlands. The LEBE campaign has raised approximately SGD$40,000 (almost US$30k) for awareness raising on ivory trade in Asia since its inception, and Nadya and I have spoken at dozens of schools, events, conferences and government departments across the region. A new study by Save The Elephants just revealed that growing public awareness through campaigns like the one by WildAid in China have played an important role in the halving of the price of ivory in the past year, a truly outstanding result that will help reduce elephant poaching. Our LEBE campaign continues in Southeast Asia in 2016 – more news to come on that soon.
But I think our biggest contribution through Matson & Ridley Safaris is the benefits your safari bookings provide in terms of local employment in Africa. Wilderness Safaris recently released a breakdown of how your safari dollars are spent, and most enlightening for me was that about two-thirds goes to local employment. This is so important! In Africa, conservation of wildlife is directly related to the economic benefits people get from wildlife, and so this really is a win-win scenario for both people and wildlife. In rural areas where these camps are, there are few other economic opportunities for people, so ecotourism done right can be a real lifeline. Asilia Africa, who we work with to plan your East African safaris, focus on education and conservation, as well as community partnerships to deliver long term sustainability that benefits local people. You can read more about their positive impact and approach to sustainable business development here. When you go on one of our safaris, either independently or with me, don’t forget to ask about all the incredible work these ecotourism companies are doing to ensure that you not only have an amazing experience but that the local people and wildlife directly benefit from the monies you spend.
Very soon we’ll be launching the new Matson & Ridley Safaris website, but in the meantime you can find us on the Matson & Ridley Safaris Facebook page – like us here to see the latest updates on all our safari offers and opportunities, and you can share your photos there too. We have big dreams for our conservation work – please help us get there by spreading the word about our ethical safaris!
Don’t forget it’s not too late to sign up to join me in northern Zimbabwe in September next year, and I still have one spot left for a single woman sharing in North West Namibia in May (last minute discount available for the latter). There are great deals available for family and group safaris in 2016 all over Africa’s safari regions, especially if you go in the green season. May 2016 be a year of adventure, excitement and inspiration for you all and I hope to see you by the campfire under a starry African sky soon!