On Saturday January 24 I was one of a huge herd which gathered to make some noise outside the Chinese Embassy in London and put pressure on the Chinese government to ban the ivory trade.
DEGTH? Harriet Croome (left) with new elefriends Clara and Christine.
Against a backdrop of iconic red London buses and grand regency buildings about 150 elephant lovers of all kinds gathered to urge the Chinese government to BAN THE IVORY TRADE. The demonstration was organised by Action For Elephants UK in conjunction with Care for the Wild. Action for Elephants UK is an inspirational grassroots activist organization headed up by Maria Mossman. I had the pleasure of speaking with Maria at length a few days before the demo and was astounded by the level of awareness and support she has been able to generate in just a short time. Her commitment and passion is infectious and though I was a little nervous about attending my first demonstration, she assured me that the crowd would be very welcoming – she was absolutely right!
â€œLatest developments in Zimbabwe are disgusting… we [are] seeing elephants being killed, [and] the Zimbabwe government has started to sell live ones, to our colleagues and friends in China.â€Â Dominic Dyer, Care for the Wild
Day Before DemoÂ Day
I got my Dad to make me up a nice big A3 placard at his furniture shop – caused a bit of a talking point among his employeesÂ so thatâ€™s good – I think it looks great!! (Oh, I havenâ€™t laminated itâ€¦ I hope it wonâ€™t rain!?)
My four year old niece is staying with me and asks about my placard so I tell her all about why saving elephants is important – sowing the seeds for the next generation of elephant warriors!
Checked to see if my beautiful placard was destined to be a soggy mess, relieved to see it was clear and sunny! Wrapped up warm, not forgetting my gorgeous elephant scarf, which is especially special because it was a present from a very good friend who I lived with in South Africa and shared many magical elephant encounters with.
As soon as I arrived at Regentâ€™s Street tube station I spotted a couple of ladies with what looked to be placards too, hmmâ€¦ Went and said hello and made some new elefriends, Kenyan born Jackie and friend Clara, and their friend Christine whom they met at a previous demoâ€¦ TRUMPET to them for taking me under their trunks!
A timely and creative placard following Zimbabwe’s capture and sale of wild baby elephants to China.
We had to demonstrate on the opposite site of the street to the Chinese Embassy which had police standing guard outside. The Embassy had also taken down its flag so it didn’t appear in any press reports taken on the dayâ€¦ a guilty conscience if ever I saw one!
We really were a sight to behold with our myriad placards, banners, elephant costumes and toys and a sight to be-HEARD thanks to the amazing chant we were given to shout – a feat of literary genius in itself!
Demonstrators hold their placards with pride outside the Chinese Embassy, London. Words taken from chant.
In between chants I was lucky enough to speak at length with Denise Dresner, who organized the event jointly with Maria Mossman. She is a highly knowledgeable and committed activist and I would like to thank her for an extremely enjoyable and insightful conversation – TRUMPET for you to!
Time for our guest speakers, Dr Trevor Jones, Southern Tanzania Elephant Project & Dominic Dyer, Care for the Wild. Both gave incredibly powerful, impassioned and articulate speeches and together gave the crowd a brilliant feel for whatâ€™s happening on the ground in Africa, the broader issues relating to trafficking of ivory and live elephants and what we can do from the UK to put pressure on China to ban the ivory trade. A lady named Jocelyn, who had not planned to speak, made a heartfelt address which I felt echoed the thoughts and feelings of everyone in the crowd exceptionally well. The elephants need people like these, who are not afraid to speak up for what they believe in and motivate others to do the same.Â Â Click their names to see the full speeches on YouTube.
Overall, it was an immensely enjoyable and meaningful day. Making a stand for something you feel passionately about, in the company of others who share that passion, is something that gives you a great sense of pride and achievement. I will not hesitate from joining again in the future! Check out the March For Elephants UK Facebook page to keep up to date on future protests in the UK and Global March for Elephants & Rhinos for worldwide activism.
Until next timeâ€¦ trump, trump, trumpety, trumpâ€¦ trump, trump, trump!
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