Two important events at Parliament serve to help end the trade in elephant ivory
Last January the International Fund for Animal Welfare China office Asia Regional Director Grace Ge Gabriel did an extensive interview with the BBC flagship documentary series Panorama. The programme featured IFAW's work around the issue of ivory poaching.
Our plan was to capitalize on this by inviting Grace to come to the UK soon after the programme was screened - the BBC had told us it would be "some time in April". As you can imagine, we were very relieved to see it go out on 12 April, the week before Grace arrived.
Grace arrived on the following Monday and spent a week with us. We kept her pretty busy and she did us proud. She presented to the House of Commons All Parliamentary Group on Wildlife Conservation on Tuesday and on Wednesday she gave expert witness and successfully dealt with a barrage of questions from twelve MPs from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee.
Grace’s testimony as video captured by Parliament.TV below
These were two particularly important events for our work on the ivory trade; It was obvious to see that the MPs were impressed by Grace's expertise and by the fact that IFAW clearly knows what we are talking about and have on-the-ground experience in China and elsewhere.
Straight after the grilling from the Environment Audit Committee, we took Grace over to another room in the House of Commons where we were hosting a Parliamentary Reception.
The keynote speakers were Grace and Nick Herbert, the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice. I was particularly pleased to have Nick speaking. We had spent a lot of time with him in the run up to the election, briefing him on our issues and organizing a visit to a couple of projects in India with IFAW. So we were very pleased to see him appointed to the position of Minister for Policing.
In the past, wildlife crime has been way down on this Minister's list of priorities, but Nick continues to be very interested in our area of work and I'm glad to say that he is particularly supportive of IFAW. Over 35 MPs attended the event and we were all pleased to hear Nick reaffirm his belief that wildlife crime is a serious issue that must be tackled by the UK Government both nationally and internationally.
We also invited a number of our supporters to attend the reception. I spoke to most of them and they were clearly very impressed by our capacity to speak to the right people in the right way in the right place.
All in all I was very proud of Grace and the full team here at IFAW. It was a great example of inter office work that delivered great results for IFAW and elephants.