Mike Gapes MP for Ilford South has shown his commitment to protecting elephants by pledging support for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)’s campaign against the ivory trade.
Mike attended IFAW’s Dying for Ivory event at the House of Commons on 18 April 2012, which was hosted by Angela Smith MP. Key speakers included Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP, Minister for Policing, and IFAW’s Asia Regional Director, Grace Ge Gabriel.
I was dismayed to learn that elephant poaching is on the rise and that vulnerable populations of these animals are being killed at an alarming rate, largely to meet China’s growing demand for ivory. I fully support IFAW’s campaign to protect elephants from the ivory trade, and urge my constituents to lend their support too.
Mike posed with a large confiscated elephant tusk to highlight the issue and send a clear message that they want the UK to take the lead in the international community to stop elephants dying to fuel the ivory trade.
Recent months have seen the shocking scenes of massacred elephants killed by poachers for their ivory tusks. For example, in the first two months of 2012, it is reported that as many as 650 elephants were butchered in a national park in north Cameroon. First-hand information collected by IFAW indicates the indiscriminate, violent nature of the killings of entire elephant families, including mothers and even juveniles with small tusks.
IFAW’s event highlighted the threats currently facing elephant populations and focused on the rising consumer demand in China. It showed that the recent stockpile sales of ivory have fuelled demand, pushed up prices and allowed illegal ivory to be leaked into the market place along with legal ivory. IFAW explained that escalating ivory prices and demand in China combined with an uncontrollable ivory market make for a lethal combination that could be contributing to the rise in poaching and destruction of wild elephant populations.
Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK, said:
Every piece of ivory represents a dead elephant and poaching to fuel this trade has risen in recent years. We are very grateful to Mike Gapes MP for showing hiscommitment to elephant protection by attending our Ivory event. We welcome the UK Government ’s commitment to protecting elephants from the ivory trade.”
The public can show their support by joining IFAW’s virtual Elephant March. Anyone who would like to join the march can visit: www.elephantmarch.com . Further information about the campaign can be found at www.ifaw.org/ivory