Teaching a new, receptive generation the value of protecting wildlife

These kids were aged 9-10 and there were about 120 kids in total. They received what I hope was an interesting lesson about elephants, ivory trade, elephant protection and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. I love it when my six year old daughter sings this child’s song about a baby elephant in the forest holding on to its mother’s tail so it won’t get lost.

Kids just love elephants.

Baby elephants are incredibly cute with their little trunks and ears, elephant calves have the best mamas in the world and elephant bulls are big strong papas who fear no one. Elephants provide all the ingredients for numerous great stories and songs.

No surprise children are shocked to learn elephants get killed for their tusks, even the small elephants that just started to grow tusks.

That this killing is happening on a large scale and that elephants might only be known through stories and songs in the future if no one stops the poachers is equally shocking. It is easy for me to be a hero daddy telling my daughter I am going to chase off the bad guys and save the elephants.

And for the moment I am doing just that.

Ha!

My daughter is only six years of age you see. Her little elephant world is still perfect.

Things change when kids reach the age of nine or ten. They now better understand how the world turns: why a poor man in Africa kills an animal to feed his family, the value of money, the need for survival, the hunger for status, power, dominance and possession.

This is a good moment to teach the new generation the true story behind elephant poaching and the global ivory trade. Why the ivory trade has to stop now before it’s too late.

Conservationists keep warning us that many species, elephants included, will be extinct in the year 2050 if we do not act. These kids are going to witness the year 2050. I hope I will too, but it might very well be my last year.

In other words, the future of elephants is in the hands of the new generation. Therefore we have to teach the new generation to do a better job then us. This is vital for the future of elephants and for the future of humans.

The hopeful fact is that these kids actually understand this and really want to act, where so many grown ups don’t. This is why I love to be in front of the classroom every now and then.

These kids were aged 9-10 and there were about 120 kids in total. They received what I hope was an interesting lesson about elephants, ivory trade, elephant protection and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Apparently the lessons learned were passed from child to parent that night which was wonderful to hear and all of the kids joined the IFAW elephant march.

--RR

You can also join the march by visiting http://www.elephantmarch.com

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Experts

Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Cynthia Moss, IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Regional Director, South Asia