Thursday, October 1, 2015

I've got my marching orders

I love animals, I always have and it saddens me that three of my four favorite animals in the wild are under threat of extinction because of human activity. One of them, the polar bear, isn't getting much attention this week. It will have have to wait in the wings while elephants, lions and rhinos, which are under a more immediate threat, take center stage as people in 137 locations around the world march to bring attention to the dire situation that is taking place in Africa.

It's unbelievable to think that African elephants are being slaughtered for their ivory at the rate of one every 15 minutes. Add that up. I can hardly wrap my head around such numbers. Rhinos are being slaughtered for their horns at the rate of about one every 7 to 11 hours. The poor lion, once king of the jungle, has been reduced to a caged animal bred for hunting. Accustomed to having humans feeding him, the caged lion doesn't stand a chance when he's let out of confinement to walk a few yards only to be shot to death by a sports hunter.

You're thinking this is awful, aren't you? It's more than awful because the only reason the elephants and rhinos are being illegally poached is because a lot of people like ivory and others erroneously believe rhino horn has medicinal properties. The lions are under threat because there are people who actually enjoy killing lions for fun and they have the means to go to Africa and hunt them.

So what can we do? To begin with, we can help build awareness of the dire situation these animals are in. As Ekhart Tolle said, "Awareness is the greatest agent for change." If people don't know there is a problem, they can't do anything to solve it. Most people who buy ivory aren't thinking that an elephant has to be killed in order to get the tusks from which the trinket they're buying was made. Those who buy rhino horn for its so-called medicinal properties are most likely unaware that the horns are cut out of the rhino's heads leaving them to bleed to death. Most Americans don't know that the United States is the second largest importer of illegal ivory in the world. I didn't know that about the U.S. Did you?

I'm joining thousands of other wildlife advocates this weekend for the Global March for Elephants, Lions and Rhinos. I'll be marching in Gainesville, Florida, a university town with a population of 124,000 that's about 25 miles from my house. I'm proud that little Gainesville has joined the march. It may not turn out to be as large as some of the huge ones that are being planned, but that's not the point. The point is Gainesville folks will be showing up to add their voices to the outcry against an atrocity nobody who cares about animals can tolerate.

Even if you're unable to join the march this weekend, you can join those speaking out against wildlife crime by sharing this post, joining the Global March For Elephants and Rhinos community on Facebook and retweeting from their hashtag stream #GMFER. I'll be tweeting too, so you can also retweet me from @jpLANEauthor. Let's pool our social media resources and put a stop to the killing. We have the voice. We have the power. Now we just need to unleash it and help save the elephants, lions and rhinos of Africa before it's too late.

Thanks very much for your much appreciated comments. For some reason I'm not able to reply to them at the moment. I will as soon as I've sorted out this glitch.


  1. I'll be with you in spirit, Joan! This is simply wicked!

  2. I will also be with you Joan! I love all of these animals and don't want to see them die out!!!