Melbourne Elephant Ivory and Rhino Horn Crush Epilogue
Donalea Patman, Founding Director, For the Love of Wildlife
For the Love of Wildlife has taken very seriously its commitment to the #MelbourneCrush and #NoDomesticTrade campaign. While the act of destroying elephant ivory and rhino horn items aims to show that the only value they have is on a living animal, importantly, we must consider that these items represent the death of thousands of elephants and rhinos.
Elephants are incredible creatures with strong social structures and personalities. Just like us, they have intricate family systems. Rhinos are as ancient as time, yet there are just 27,000 rhinos left in the wild today. These sensitive beings are fast disappearing before our very eyes.
On Saturday 3 March 2018, Australia marked World Wildlife Day with a powerful message about the importance of these majestic animals, by destroying elephant ivory and rhino horn.
Understandably, we have being considering what the epilogue must be for the items being crushed.
A heart-felt invitation has been received from internationally celebrated artist and Founder of the Human Elephant Foundation, Andries Botha, for the crushed ivory and horn, of these elephants and rhinos, to take the journey home and be returned to the earth in the land that they were born. The crushed items will be buried beneath a bronze memorial Andries is creating to honour Dr Ian Player and his conservation partner, Magqubu Ntombela.
Andries was a very dear and close friend of Dr Ian Player who passed in 2015. For the Love of Wildlife is both honoured and humbled by Andries’ invitation, for these elephants and rhinos to complete their journey home.
“It is, in my opinion vitally significant to bring the crushed rhino horn and elephant tusk home to the ancestral lands of these ancient creatures, where not only their bodies exist as essential components of our ecosystems, but where their ancestral presence and voices originate.”
I finish with a message from Andries.
We from the Human Elephant Foundation commend and support For the Love of Wildlife Ltd and the Australian supporters of the Melbourne Crush event.
It is critical that countries who are a part of the wildlife traffic economy take a courageous stand in support of wildlife that is now particularly vulnerable, as poachers, organised crime syndicates, corrupt governments and private and corporate business become more bold in their commodification of wild life products. It is imperative that we stand for these endangered animals.
It is, in my opinion, vitally significant to bring the crushed rhino horn and elephant tusk home to the ancestral lands of these ancient creatures, where not only their bodies exist as essential components of our ecosystems, but where their ancestral presence and voices originate.
We are honoured to take custodianship of the crushed remains of these animals, to bury them beneath a monumental memorial sculpture soon to be erected to honour Magqubu Ntombela and Dr Ian Player, who saved the White Rhino from extinction in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and to repatriate them to the land they belong to.
Andries Botha, South African Sculptor and Founder, Human Elephant Foundation.