At 6:30 p.m. today, Deb Naybor will present “How Special is Chautauqua Lake” at the Lake Walk, discussing the gift of fresh water. Meet at the covered porch of the Heinz Fitness Center, located on South Lake Drive at the corner of South Avenue (below the Youth Activities Center). This event is sponsored by the Bird, Tree & Garden Club in cooperation with the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy.
When Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi set fire to 12 tons of illegal ivory in 1989, conservationists like Paula Kahumbu thought the end of elephant slaughter was in sight. And it was — until now.
Following that demonstration, poaching numbers dropped for nearly 20 years. But recently, worldwide demand for ivory has increased, which means that African elephants are in more danger of becoming extinct than ever before.
Kahumbu, the executive director of WildlifeDirect in Nairobi, Kenya, delivered Tuesday’s morning lecture in the Amphitheater, the second under the week’s theme of “The Next Greatest Generation.” WildlifeDirect works to save elephants and endangered species living in Kenya’s forests, savannas and plains.
Column by Paula Kahumbu
Africa is facing an unprecedented crisis of elephant poaching that threatens to wipe out the species in a decade. As poachers gun down elephant matriarchs, and destroy their families, buyers of ivory in countries like China, Vietnam and Thailand purchase exquisite ivory carvings of their gods, and believe that they are somehow worshiping God. Don’t they know that their consumer habits are killing nature? Don’t they know that Nature is God?
The situation in China is particularly hazardous. The domestic markets for ivory in China are legal and sanctioned by the government, which denies the link between the illegal trade and the illegal killing of elephants. Yet studies conducted by National Geographic IFAW, the EIA, Save the Elephants and others reveal that over 86 percent of ivory being sold in shops in China is from illegal sources. The Chinese government says Africa is to blame and demands that African nations crack down on poaching.
Patricia Jabbeh Wesley’s home is Monrovia, Liberia.
Although she has lived in the United States for more than two decades, her life in Africa and having survived the Liberian civil war impacts her, and she will present “Writing as a Tool in Healing: A Living Experience” in a Brown Bag lecture at 12:15 p.m. today on the Alumni Hall porch.
“My writing has been almost taken over by my experience of the Liberian civil war and by watching from the outside as my country became completely destroyed and my people died for 12 more years after my flight,” Jabbeh Wesley said. “But I am glad that I am more than ‘that writer’ about war.”