The University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources in conjunction with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is hosting “Battle for the Elephant,” a special screening and solutions panel discussion on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 4 pm at the Ira Allen Chapel in Burlington. Doors open at 3:30 pm and the event is free and open to the public.
The event, with an expected attendance of over 500, will feature a screening of “Battle for the Elephant,” a one-hour National Geographic documentary, followed by a panel discussion on dynamic solutions to the “blood ivory” crisis. Panelists include John Heminway, writer, producer, and director of “Battle for the Elephants”; Dr. Joshua Ginsberg, senior vice president, Global Conservation Program, Wildlife Conservation Society; Dr. James Deutsch, executive director, Africa Program, Wildlife Conservation Society; and Shelburne’s Dr. Laurel Neme, author of “Animal Investigators,” contributor to National Geographic, and fellow at UVM’s Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security.
The issue of elephant poaching in Africa is at a record high, literally decimating the species. The number of elephants alive today is the smallest number ever recorded. An elephant is killed every 15 minutes for their tusks, with an estimated 36,000 slaughtered each year. Should the killing continue at the current level, elephants could be extinct in a decade.
Wildlife trafficking is one of the largest illegal trading activities in the world, after drugs and guns. According to Peter Seligmann, the CEO of Conservation International, “Poaching has become an enormous problem and one of the most profitable criminal activities there is. It’s destabilizing to nations, it’s a threat to security forces, and it’s a serious loss for local economies that depend on wildlife.”
Fortunately the US Government is demonstrating its growing commitment to stopping wildlife crime. As recently as Sept. 26, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new global initiative to protect Africa’s wild elephants from poaching.
This event underscores the University’s understanding of the crisis and its desire to affect positive change in the world while highlighting the number of UVM faculty members who have ongoing work in Africa focused on solving this global crisis