Elephant poaching hits close to home

Philip Mansbridge on the plains of Mara
Philip Mansbridge on the plains of Mara

Four baby elephants rescued and one treasured adoptee poached – a week in the life of a wildlife charity.

Philip Mansbridge, chief executive of Horsham-based Care for the Wild, said: “I’m writing this from the plains of Mara in Kenya, where I am witnessing at first hand the work done by Care for the Wild’s anti-poaching team. The battle against poaching is at present a losing one – we’re being outgunned by sophisticated poachers who will rid the wild of its treasures for the sake of financial gain.

“While I was here, our work was brought into sharp relief. One of the organisations we fund, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, rescued four baby elephants in just two weeks. These babies will now live safely through our adoption programme until they are ready to go back into the wild.

“But what then? Tragically a previous adoptee, Selengai, has been found dead, pierced by a poisoned spear, another victim of poaching. It’s easy to think ‘what’s the point?’, but we can’t – we owe it to the animals to keep fighting.

“One morning we came across a giraffe, killed and stripped of meat. Then a wildebeest, dead in a snare. I found another snare and removed it – this acted as a form of catharsis in a way, but with slaughter all around me I was both sad and angry.

“I have seen the true scale of poaching in the Mara area – the volume, the brutality, the pointlessness and most of all the victims – beautiful national wildlife, trapped, defenceless, then slaughtered. I pledged to myself that I will do all I can to increase Care for the Wild’s fundraising income to our Kenyan projects and to raise awareness of the issues. I can’t do it alone – supporters, we need you.’’

For more information visit www.careforthewild.com or call 01403 249832.

Pictured here, Philip Mansbridge on the plains of Mara.