Kenyan scientist Jim Nyamu marched at Salisbury University’s campus on Sept. 27 amid his 560-mile journey to bring attention to elephant poaching in Kenya. SU faculty and students supported the movement following his footsteps and waving the Kenyan flag.
The U.S. is the second largest consumer of ivory after China, said freelance writer and supporter of the March for Elephants campaign, Jen Samuel.
“The whole purpose of the march is not only to raise awareness that elephants are facing extinction because of illegal ivory poaching,” she said. “We also want to encourage our government to step up and encourage for a global ban of ivory that happened in 1989 to resume.”
October is the international Elephant Awareness Month. Nyamu’s campaign will end on Oct. 4 in Lafayette Park, Washington, D.C. after starting his march in the U.S. on Sept. 4 from Capecod, Mass.
Nyamu began his 560-mile walk in Kenya and the week after he began, 69 elephants were poached for their ivory tusks wiping out the entire water hole, Michelle Malinger said, an SU student and supporter.
“When I finished the first 50 days I had over 5,000 followers including 15 different international organizations,” Nyamu said. “I first felt that I’m not really doing much but at that point I realized there is importance in what I have been doing.”
Samuel hopes that protesting in front of the White House on Oct. 4 will gain bi-partisan support for legislation that will call for immediate freeze on all ivory sales in the US, she said.
SU was chosen as a meeting place for Nyamu and further supporters in order to catch the attention of the younger generation.
“We need to educate our communities, the people who are killing the elephants are young people,” he said.
The Kenyan scientist thinks the killers of the elephants are detached from the importance of nature and conducting the killings for economic reasons. Samuel wants American children to be affected by the campaign also.
“We want kids in America to learn that “E” is for elephant not extinction when they learn their ABC’s,” she said.
Following his campaign at SU, Nyamu will continue his walk across the Susquehanna River on Sept 28 onward to Baltimore and from there to D.C.
The recent Westgate Mall attack in Kenya has caused international security issues. Action by Kenyan supporters at the October scheduled march is limited for that reason, but Nyamu said he will be representing Kenya for them.
To join the campaign and learn more information on locations of the march, please visit http://www.marchforelephants.org/ .