In yet another example of how awe-inspiring it can be when a child fearlessly speaks out on behalf of at-risk animals, eleven-year-old Maddie Jabs takes the stage. This passionate young woman is organizing a march in her local town of Saugerties in New York, to raise awareness for the gravely endangered elephant population.
She explained that her passion for saving these majestic animals first began after a talk that was given to students in her school four years ago: “at an assembly at Riccardi (Elementary) School, I learned that elephants are in danger of becoming extinct … the year I turn sixteen. The year after that, I started gathering information about elephants. Then for the next two years, I had a yard sale and donated the money to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to foster an orphaned elephant there.”
Maddie was further inspired to arrange the march after meeting conservation biologist Jim Justus Nyamu in 2013. Nyamu was walking from Boston, Mass. to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about the illegal poaching of elephants for their ivory. Maddie met up with him in New York City and walked three miles with him.
She has now organized a march of her own in October, beginning in the parking lot of Saugerties’ Main Street, directly across from Cahill Elementary School. William Murphy, Saugerties village Mayor, has lauded her actions as “wonderful.”
Maddie is organizing her walk as part of the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos event, which will take part in a range of cities throughout the U.S.A., Canada, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East, and Mexico on Oct. 3rd and 4th.
Some of the stated aims and objectives of this worldwide initiative include:
- Calling for global awareness that governments need to apply political will and leadership to put an end to wildlife trafficking.
- Urging all countries to implement a complete ban on commercial international and domestic trade of all endangered wildlife body parts, including ivory, rhino horn, lion and tiger bone.
- Demanding that governments tackle corruption and money-laundering linked to illegal wildlife trafficking by criminalizing such activity and introducing more punitive legislation for the sentencing of wildlife traffickers.
- Calling on the United Nations – including the Security Council and General Assembly – to adopt sanctions against countries which are in violation of intergovernmental agreements as adopted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Fauna and Flora (CITES).
In-text image: March 4 Elephants and Rhinos
Lead image: Benh LIEU SONG/Flickr