To the Friends of Changila: Thankyou

Dear friends of Changila,

Changila striding toward our vehicle, December 29, 2012. The 30-year-old bull was gunned down and butchered for his ivory a few days after this photo was made. Photo courtesy of Shifra Goldenberg, Save the Elephants.

I am deeply moved by all your letters, which I have read over and over again. Thank you.

[You may read and add to the letters to Oria at the foot of her blog post Saluting Changila.]

I share your feelings of rage and sadness. It will be a long battle to put an end to this “legal” and illegal ivory trade. I do not have any answers, but we can make our voices heard: Tell them, the Kenyan authorities, to stop the illegal trading of blood ivory. And ask the Chinese authorities to close the door on ALL ivory coming into and out of China or being sold in China. They should help in every way to put an end to BLOOD IVORY TRAFFICKING. They should close all ivory shops.

The killing of elephants continues. Last night under the full moon, three of our elephants were killed. Nearly all our big bulls have gone, gone to ivory trinkets, and among our studied elephant families in northern Kenya, we already have five orphaned families in which every senior female has been killed, leaving small groups of orphans to find their way in the battlefield without leadership.

Thank you all for your heartfelt messages.

Oria Douglas-Hamilton

Changing Planet

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Wildlife conservationist Oria Douglas-Hamilton is a trustee of Save the Elephants, a charity based in Samburu National Reserve in the Great Rift Valley, Kenya. Save the Elephants carries out rigorous studies of elephants, including elephant collaring and sophisticated elephant-tracking techniques. Through the charity, she has worked to support, protect, and increase awareness of issues that threaten African elephant populations and their habitats. Oria and her husband Iain Douglas-Hamilton co-authored two award-winning books, Among the Elephants and Battle for the Elephants, and have made numerous television films. Douglas-Hamilton has appeared in a number of wildlife documentaries,  including a three-part BBC documentary, The Secret Life of Elephants, which explored the lives of elephants in Samburu reserve and the work of the Save the Elephants' research team. Oria and Iain also co-wrote "African Elephants: Can They Survive?" in the November 1980 issue of National Geographic, which documented the havoc caused by ivory hunters and human population pressure.