The Importance of Saving Wildlife – Hong Kong Elephant Week 2018

Hong Kong Elephant Week 2018 is held in conjunction with school education programmes and a charity dinner that will help conserve and protect elephants.

Nov 09, 2018 | By Joe Lim

Colin Dawson, may not be a household name but in the yachting industry, he’s an expert in yacht insurance policies. One of his columns was featured on Luxuo and stresses the need for All Risk policies. You can read it here. But to the unbeknownst, the busy Dawson, is passionate and dedicated about conserving and protecting elephants via Elephant Week in Hong Kong 2018 (12 to 16 Nov), where a gala dinner would be organised in Hong Kong. The survival of elephants plays a big part in ensuring a functional ecosystem.

One of the stirring images in the poster for Elephant Week

Dawson is honoured to be bringing in Daniel Ole Sambu and James Mwenda to take part in schools programme that would lead up to the fundraising dinner in conjunction with African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), which carries the theme of Take A Walk On The Wildside. This will be held at the Island Shangri-La on 16 November, in Hong Kong.

However, one might think, “why save the elephants?” In truth, elephants are keystone species. A keystone species is a plant or animal that plays a unique and crucial role in the way ecosystem functions. Without keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether. Other keystone species include the wolf.

Colin Dawson

In real life, other animals, plants and entire ecosystems rely on elephants for survival. Their large footprints act as a water collection for smaller animals. They are also known as “nature gardeners”, plants and trees rely on elephants to disperse their seeds far and wide through their dung, but today these magnificent creatures are facing the biggest threat to survival due to continued ivory poaching. If we don’t act now they could face localised extinctions; one a keystone species is gone, it would have further ramifications the animal ecosystem. Elephants are an amazingly intelligent species, their emotions and cognitive behaviours are very similar to humans. They develop strong, intimate bonds between friends and family members. They even grieve for their lost loved ones and feel fear, joy and empathy.

Food for thought: “Hope” message appears on the Elephant Week poster that demonstrates how education can help protect elephants

The facts of the demise of elephants in the wild are grim: approximately 26,000 elephants are killed for their tucks annually. That’s one in every 15 minutes! Colin Dawson is the founder of The Elephant Society and the director of The Elephant Foundation which is a registered charity. Since Dawson started Elephant Week in 2014, there have been more than 100 school visits, where more than 13,500 students and adults have been addressed with information and updates about elephant conservation and protection.

The charity has raised over HKD $4 million for education and conservation projects; in addition, they have facilitated over 400 DSWT (David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust ) elephant adoptions. The Elephant Foundation relies wholly on funds raised during the evening of the Gala Dinner which in turn allow the charity to support partners such as Big Life, DSWT and some schools programmes. Its annual charity dinner held in Hong Kong also helps with the elephant conservation fund.

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