Water is crucial in this beautiful but arid land. One day we watched elephants digging and drinking from deep holes in the completely dry Ewaso River bed. The babies played like children in the holes, making a mess of their parent’s careful work. The holes are in turn used by many other animals during these dry times. Later I walked up the river to a spot where herds of cattle, donkeys, and goats are brought to drink from holes surrounded by walls of thorn branches to keep out the elephants and other wildlife. Women in beautiful necklaces and men call their animals to come and drink, singing to them as they go. The river bed is the life blood for these people and their animals as much as it is for the elephants. Everyone can’t wait for the rains to come.
Exciting Updates for 2015-2016
- New website
- New project: Community Outreach for Elephants
- New project: WorldWomenWorks Disposable & Reusable Sanitary Pad Project
- WWW shows in San Francisco, Sun Valley, New York & Santa Fe
- 2016 Trip: Elephants & Gorillas Kenya/Rwanda already full!
We had an incredible safari in Kenya in 2014. We connected with people and wildlife in ways few of us could have imagined as we left for the airport at the end of January.
We met the women of the Ewaso Lion Project, a new one for WWW this year. Thanks to their involvement in lion conservation, they are learning to read and write as well as create beautiful beaded lion crafts for the market. We visited the Sheldrick Trust where orphaned elephants from Nairobi are being slowly reintroduced into the wild.
After 5 nights at Elephant Watch, Oria Douglas-Hamilton’s beautiful camp in Samburu, everybody was in elephant mode. We flew to Tsavo National Park for the highlight of the trip, the search for some of Africa’s last ‘Tuskers’, adult bull elephants with fully developed tusks.
From the air a group of bulls was spotted and among them a 50 year old called Satao whose magnificence is beyond description, his tusks reach to the ground. These big bulls have been the number one target of the poachers and as a result there are believed to be only 20 left in all of Africa!
Today I learned that Satao is being observed by a Kenya Wildlife service vet for spear wounds which can cause a very painful death. The beauty we were privileged to witness is fragile and under assault as never before, and that is why we must continue to fight!
WorldWomenWork is putting together a team for the International March for Elephants on October 4th, 2013 in Washington DC. Join us and march to stand in solidarity with elephants and to say no to ivory and end wildlife crime. For more information about the march, please visit:http://www.iworry.org/If you are interested in joining us, please contact Singer Rankin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WorldWomenwork is very proud to announce the completion of a fifty second animated video titled ‘Rewind’. It is short and to the point, and hopefully through animation it will find its way in front of younger eyes inside China. What if children and young adults collectively told their family and friends not to buy ivory? That could be the only thing that stops the elephant’s long ugly slide towards extinction.
We are in the process of planning another animation that could be very effective at making the older generations pause before buying. Less demand will hurt the value of ivory, no demand will kill the trade. Please support more of these tools for changing minds.
WorldWomenwork is very proud to be co-sponsoring along with The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market*, the Festival au Desert: Caravan for Peace Concert on July 10th at the Lensic Theatre in Sante Fe, New Mexico. The concert will kick-off the 2013 Folk Art Market.
Since 2001, the Festival au Desert, considered one of the most unique music festivals in the world, was held in Mali, on the south western edge of the Sahara Desert, but in 2012 war broke out and Islamic extremists took over the country, now intolerance for things like music reigns. Thankfully the core musicians fled Mali and took to the road, touring throughout Europe and now America. Hope for the return of peace and tolerance in the region is embodied in their music.
To me one of the most interesting groups is Tartit which consists of five women and four men. The women of Tartit have formed an association recognized by the United Nations dedicated to educational and economic opportunities for women and children. They are part of one of Africa’s few societies where women have a voice and are free to marry whom they wish! Interestingly the men are veiled and the women are not.
Last but not least is is the plight of a small population of rare desert elephants in Mali. They too have been caught up in the war thankfully Save the Elephants among others are trying to find ways to secure a future for them among Mali’s nomadic people.
*Two years ago WWW partnered with the Folk Art Market to bring Nicholas Kristoff to Santa Fe shortly after his and wife Sheryl WuDunn’s ground breaking book “Half the Sky” had been published.
by Oria Douglas-Hamilton
Flying with the vultures, I salute you Changila, to say farewell. You will now return to the earth where you and I came from a long long time ago. Piece by piece, vultures will take you away and bury you, leaving only white bones by the river to mark your grave, where you stood that last moment in your life. We did not know you well, but you were named Changila, “Fighter.”
You came from the north in December, as you always do. Now at 30, having survived droughts, war, and floods, you stood tall and strong, heading south in full musth over well trodden paths, leaving a scent trail behind, your trunk sweeping the ground as you searched for fertile females to mate with. The land was lush and green after the rains. Butterflies fluttered from flower to flower, and step by step, your great big feet crushed the long grass stems. Like all warriors, you came to fight, to do what you were known for. Did you leave us an heir in your kingdom?
The new year had just begun. We’d seen you here and there for a few days, and then you disappeared, walking back west. Oh yes, people saw you—you were so determined; no one stood in your way. You drank and washed and crossed the river. Alone, you stood on warm earth pondering your next move while the sun’s rays lit the sky red. The day was ending.
Gunfire broke through the silence of dusk, and you fell.
I apologize for man, my species. You did not deserve this.
Changila destroyed by poachers, January 3, 2013. Photo courtesy of Chris Leadismo, Save the Elephants.
As I flew over you, I scanned the eroded gullies on the hillside, wondering where the men had been sitting, watching, waiting for you to turn and face them, guns at the ready. They hit you not once but two, three, times, and you fell. I saw your leg covered in dark red blood. Your eyes were open. Did you see them as you were dying, coming toward you with their axes? And then, without a moment to waste, demented, they hacked into your skull, just below your open eye, your blood spattering those hands that would steal the prize you carried: two beautiful tusks, white like your bones will be, but stained with blood.
I will never forget your face, so savagely butchered. Rage fills my heavy heart, Changila.
Where will your tusks go? They will leave Africa, hidden in dirty sacks, in boxes, trucks, and stores, changing hands from man to man. No one will know who you were, where you lived. You will be like thousands of others, unknown, abused, and used. One day, a piece of you will be cut into myriad items.
I’m sorry, Changila. May your name live forever—we will miss you.
We thought it important to draw your attention to the upcoming CITIES meeting. Unfortunately, there is an increasing argument for creating a ‘”sustainable” environment for elephants through a “controlled” legalized ivory trade – in effect, funding the necessary protection of wild elephants with some of the profits from the legalized sale of ivory.
We have never agreed with this notion.
As the meeting comes closer I wanted to draw your attention to an important article in The Ecologist –
Elephants Are Not Diamonds
We agree – “To view ivory as a commodity ignores the underlying principles of population biology.”
“The ivory trade has never and can never be managed sustainably, nor without a total dominance of corruption, this is why we support a total moratorium on ivory sales and the destruction of existing and future stockpiles. CITES member states should have the integrity to put such a ban and plan of action in place – otherwise the entire CITES system risks total discredit.”
A sad message from Oria Douglas-Hamilton from Samburu, Kenya
Changilla is dead. I listen to the sad too-tooing of the emerald spotted wood doves calling to one another across the river and all around me, as if they are sending out a message that something has happened. Even the full-leafed trees stand at half mast their branches droop like flags to respect the dead and the air is so still. What did he do to deserve this??? We are all so sad.
(more to follow with a plan)
These beautiful bags are made in Thailand. The income generated by textile weaving is making a significant impact on the level of child malnutrition and general health in the villages of the Pwo Karen, one of Thailand’s smallest ethnic groups. In addition the preservation of age-old skills in the Sop Moei district continues to flourish and to expand.
They come in tangerine cotton with burnt orange leather straps and trim, black with yellow trim and seafoam green with yellow trim.
This six minute video illustrates an elephant poaching crisis exploding in Africa today. The story is revealed with the help of Iain Douglas-Hamilton of Save The Elephants and highlights the impact on the elephant populations in and around Samburu National Park in Kenya. This is a collaborative effort of Swell Pictures Inc., and WorldWomenWork. There is also Mandarin version for Chinese audiences.
The cruel slaughter of elephants across Africa continues unabated. I have just attended the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing IVORY AND INSECURITY: THE GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS OF POACHING IN AFRICA. Iain Douglas-Hamilton testified on the escalating poaching crisis in Africa. Following are opening remarks made by John Kerry. Tom Udall also spoke powerfully on the crisis.
Click to view video of full proceedings:
“And certainly, even if we aren’t today thinking much about the global implications of poaching in Africa, I can guarantee that we will be if it goes unabated. In other words, in a country with a deep and abiding conservationist conviction which has rallied to the defense of our bald eagle and our American bison, it is just a matter of time before we awaken to poaching’s consequences – but if we don’t act now, that time will come too late.”
“It would come too late for the elephants — these enormous, lumbering, majestic animals which have been a sentimental favorite with people the world over. They are a living connection to pre historic times and a reminder of our responsibility to the future by preserving the past. And just as we have fought to save tuna, salmon, sharks, tigers, whales, the American Eagle, and other endangered species, here too we have a special responsibility to future generations to live out our steward-caretaker responsibilities. How shockingly destructive and historically shameful it would be if we did nothing while a great species was criminally slaughtered into extinction. And yet, here we are in the midst of one of the most tragic and outrageous assaults on our shared inheritance that I’ve seen in my lifetime—where an elephant’s dead ivory is prized over its living condition, where corruption feeds on its body and soul, and where money only makes matters worse.”
Senator John Kerry
We recently posted on our Facebook Page that we were seriously concerned for the welfare of our friend Lek at the Elephant Nature Park who is threatened with arrest for speaking out against the corrupt officials involved with ivory poaching there.
Singer has just sent a letter to the two ambassadors listed below and is publishing her letter so that anyone who wishes to help by doing the same can see where to write to. It is only through pressure on these ambassadors that we can hope to put a stop to the actions against Elephant Nature Park by government authorities.
Ambassador Norachit Sinhaseni
Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations
351 East 52nd St.
New York, NY 10022
Ambassador Kittiphong Na Ranong
Royal Thai Embassy
1024 Wisconsin Ave N.W.
Washington D.C. 20007
Dear Ambassador Norachit Sinhaseni,
I am writing you to express my outrage at what is happening in Thailand in regard to the unwarranted raids by the DNP on the Elephant Nature Park in Mae Taeng Valley north of Chiang Mai.
Sangduen “Lek” Chailert, the founder of the Elephant Nature Foundation, is the most noble and compassionate person I know. I have been involved with the Park almost since its inception. I am on the National Council of WWF US and was on the Board for 12 years. I have my own non profit WorldWomenWork which supports women and endangered species.
I support elephant conservation both in Africa and Asia. I have been in Surin with Lek where WWW bought an elephant Bua Loi. She has a broken leg from a logging accident, begged on the streets of Bangkok and was forcibly breed. She is now in a sanctuary being loved and taken care of by Lek and her volunteers. Another elephant, Lanna, the same story of abuse but also blind in one eye the result of a sling shot, was bought by my WWW. There are more stories of cruelty but the point is that these incredible creatures have been saved from horrific conditions of abuse and now live lives of dignity.
ENP has been raided 3 times on completely false and absurd allegations that the Park was housing 70 some elephants that had illegally been taken from the wild. They didn’t find any but said they would be back . Lek’s some 30 elephants have lead terrible lives of abuse at the hands of MAN.
The cause of these raids seems to be that Lek and her colleague Edwin Wiek, the founder of Wildlife Friends Foundation, spoke out about alleged government cover-up of elephant poaching in national parks and the selling of babies to Trekking Camps.
I have raised a lot of money in the US to support Lek. Her story is extremely compelling. WWW has done a film “Losing the Elephants” about her work which has been shown at film festivals world wide. I am sickened by this and urge the government of Thailand to stop this unacceptable harassment. The tourist industry is going to suffer greatly. Thailand is such a beautiful country. I hope maybe you can do something about this. Thank you so much and I hope to hear from you.
WorldWomenWork empowers women and promotes the conservation of endangered species.
Even if you don’t want to write personally to these ambassadors you can help enormously by signing these petitions and get your friends to sign as well! Thanks!
And In Defense of Animals: https://secure2.convio.net/ida/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2129
We left Elephant Watch early after breakfast and drove for a couple of hours stopping for a brief tour of Westgate School.
Everyone had brought paper and pencils. However, the bigger list of things that WWW has been asked to donate include footballs and netballs, uniforms, mosquito nets, solar lamps, water sterilizing equipment, sanitary towels. These will be bought in Nairobi. We visited all 8 grades and even had a musical production in our honor. WWW has previously supplied solar panels to the school.
Two of the girls painting entrance to their toilet and shower.
From there we went on a meeting with the Grevy’s Zebra women scouts who had walked and taken buses from many remote areas to meet us and have lunch and do a presentation of their puppet shows to educate local pastoralists. It was one of the highlights of the trip.
These incredible women track the zebra using GPS equipment. They live in such a wild part of northern Kenya. You wonder how anything can live. A goat had been bought and killed for lunch in honor of this meeting. We had a delightful picnic packed by E W. It was an amazing day and a treat for me to show what WWW is doing in remote areas of the world! We also presented a check for $10,000 to the Grevy’s Zebra Trust.
If you would like details of our 2013 trip to Africa just email us or sign up to our newsletter!
We started our February 2012 Kenya Safari with a private half hour at Daphne Sheldrick’s elephant orphanage. Her work is so important as orphaned babies require a lot of tender loving care. They can’t survive without milk for the first year of their lives and are partially dependent for two years after that. It means that Daphne’s keepers have to be with the babies 24 hours a day even sleeping with them and covering them with a blanket when needed . I still have the “Recipe for Raising an Infant Elephant’ Daphne gave me years ago!
The highlight of our safari was 5 days spent in wild and beautiful Samburu at Oria Douglas- Hamilton’s Elephant Watch Camp and Iain’s Save The Elephants (Iain at at breakfast in Elephant Watch Camp with our WorldWomenWork Group)
Oria’s tented safari camp (see video above) is perched on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River beneath wide spreading Kigelia trees and Acacias where vervet monkeys play. It is one of the most magic places I know – showers under the stars, lunches surrounded by elephants, dinner lit by many candles and stars always in a different place. The combination of spending hours with the elephants Iain has studied for 10 years and the Samburu who are our guides and hosts is a not to be believed experience. No words can explain the exhilaration and emotion of seeing and being close to an elephant family. You truly feel one with the natural world, something many of us have lost, and return home with many new friends and an added appreciation of other cultures and the fragility of species whom we revere!
Unfortunately, there is a sad side to this beauty. I was asked to bring 3 bullet finders which locate bullets in a carcass, a GPS with camera and flashlights among other things that WWW has donated to Save The Elephants for anti poaching efforts. The battle for elephants rages fueled by the insatiable Chinese demand for ivory. WWW and Swell Pictures are doing a short film for film festivals worldwide on the poaching crisis.
This was a perfect opportunity to do a few interviews with David Daballen, one of Iain’s research assistants (above).
The first was conducted around the carcass of a magnificent bull, “Pretty Boom Boom”. Various bones and his head had been moved around by members of his family as part of their mourning process. The second was spontaneous one morning when we ran into a family whose matriarchs had all been shot. A 22 year old was left to care for the orphans – one a baby, skin and bones, who needs milk to survive.
Bernard Lesirin (above) spoke of the trauma a baby elephant feels when its mother is killed and Iain did a follow up to a previous interview.
Even though the poaching is horrendous it is important to know about as it makes the times spent with elephants even more moving. As one person said ” it was life changing.”
We raised $15,000 for Save The Elephants!
In the next post we visit one of the graduates of our Westgate School Scholarship Program and spend a day with the lady scouts of the Grevy’s Zebra Trust.
If you haven’t already signed our petition to stop the brutal killing of African elephants, the link is here –
Please share with your friends and urge them to sign the petition. And donations are always gratefully received!
The poaching crisis is escalating at an alarming rate fueled by Chinese demand for ivory. It is being carried out by very sophisticated gang related individuals. As such, WorldWomenWork is planning to concentrate much its efforts in 2012 in helping to tackle this urgent problem. We are therefore extending the time frame for our petition to November 1st in order to maximize its impact. Please share with your friends and urge them to sign the petition. We have to stop this slaughter.
WorldWomenWork and Swell Pictures are in the process of producing a film on the crisis and have done and are doing a number of interviews, including Crawford Allen, Director of TRAFFIC, North America, Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Founder and CEO Save the Elephants, Carter Roberts, President and CEO World Willdlife Fund U.S., Ginette Hemley, Senior Vice President, Conservation and Science. We will be announcing the release date of the film as soon as we have one. Watch this space!
World Women Work is delighted to announce a new partnership with friend and Interior Designer, Kathryn Schumacher. Following her recent trip to Africa with Singer, Kathryn was inspired to create pillows from indigenous fabrics exclusively for WWW.
Kathryn Schumacher Designs grew out of Kathryn’s twenty-three years as an Interior Designer with projects in California, New Mexico, New York, Washington, Florida and Illinois. She loves color, textiles, patterns, artistic detail and travel, all of which provide inspiration for her decorative pillow collections.
Kathryn has been friends with Singer for over 15 years and jumped at the recent opportunity to travel with Singer to her beloved Africa. As a result of this trip Kathryn was inspired to create a selection of beautiful African oriented pillows exclusively for WorldWomenWork. Kathryn was struck by their vivacious spirit and the pride with which they wore their brightly colored and patterned clothing. “It was a life-changing trip,” Kathryn said. “We realized that, for people like us with so much, how little it takes to change other lives for the better.”
We are thrilled with this wonderful collaboration and delighted that we can participate in the debut of Kathryn’s stunning new Africa collection. The African pillows debut for sale this month at the WorldWomenWork website (www.worldwomenwork.org) and at www.kathrynschumacher.com.
All the designs are individual one-offs – check them out – and tell your friends!
The Grevy’s Zebra Trust sent us this video to thank us for all our support over the year, and to wish us a Merry Christmas. We thought it would be a nice way to say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our wonderful supporters as well. See what we can achieve with your help! See you in the New Year!
Jewelry designer Vicky Chignall working with Maasai craftspeople create beautiful jewelry designs. WorldWomenWork helps by providing a market for these stunning pieces.
This was WorldWomenWork’s first trip to Botswana and Zambia arranged by Explore for 10 people. It was a beautiful mix of animals and people. We drove from Lusaka to the Lower Zambezi which was an education in itself. The road narrow and full of pot holes used by many trucks going to mines is a true mess but worth experiencing to get the full flavor of what is going on!
We stopped at the Riverside School for lunch and to see where WWW scholarship students have attended tailoring and organic farming school.
It is an incredibly well run school.
From there we went on to the fish farm which is spectacular – 3 ponds holding 9000 fish each. Stanley, the founder, is an amazing guy. The ladies caught fish for our dinner. We met with Isaiah who coordinates all the local projects. What a man!
We visited the clinic and school in Chiawa. It was decided on the spot by my group at the school to refurbish the girls dormitory. Mattresses on the floor are all they have and a toilet somewhere behind the occasional bush. We are funding new double decker beds, glass in the windows and a new toilet building. The girls will paint the inside and out. I won’t go into any more detail since we were updated in great detail at the board meeting. We were highly impressed by all the projects.
You come away after meeting the people involved with such admiration for everything they do. I feel it is so important to make people realize who have so much what little it takes to change peoples lives.
Cherri and Richard you are amazing. And to top everything as we were approaching shore at your camp for drinks there appear a family of elephants with babies coming down to drink.
Masai made jewelry designed by Vicky Chignall and sold by WorldWomenWork, with the proceeds used to help the communities that the artisans come from.
All of us at Elephant Watch and Save the Elephants, have been deeply shocked at the tragic killing of Khadija in Samburu, the last adult female of the SWAHILI LADIES. One by one her whole family had been killed last year and she was looking after her young and 5 orphans. In early June she had been badly wounded. We kept a close watch on her movements and on the 24th, STE with the help of Ian Craig immobilised her when she came into the Reserve, they treated her wounds, put a collar on her and injected a massive dose of antibiotics and vitamins. With difficulty she managed to pull herself up on to her feet, and wandered off slowly. We were able to follow her wandering and she was gradually getting better. For some reason she kept going south towards the “bad lands”. On the night of July 13th in the light of the full moon as she wandered towards the river she was gunned down on the southern boundary line, in a barrage of bullets. We found her faceless with 8 bullet wounds in her body, the collar removed and hidden nearby. Her tusks had immediately been hacked off and taken to a trader.
The Chinese Road Phenomenon and The Last Great Tuskers
Despite the potential benefits for development, a new Chinese-Built Road has brought a number of problems to this once remote area. Incidents of poaching and bush meat hunting have soared since the construction camp was established. Additionally, wildlife is being hit by fast moving trucks.
(Click Here to View Video about the Chinese Road)
Update on the Chinese Road Project and The Last Great Tuskers:
from Lucy King, Chief Operations Officer, Save The Elephants:
With the help of donations like yours, “The Chinese road is being monitored every week and we’re identifying the big tusker elephants which are now few and far between. Amongst the elephants of northern Kenya there are still a handful of huge elephant bulls carrying majestic tusks. They are at the mercy of the poachers and we fear this recent poaching outbreak is the worst news for those old boys.”
An appeal from WorldWomenWork in support of Save the Elephants:
We are living in a world of over population, stressed ecosystems, poverty, greed and extreme wealth. Elephants seem to be taking a last stand. It is unacceptable that these majestic creatures should be gunned down with extreme cruelty to satisfy the greed of the Chinese. A war is taking place, anti poaching patrols are at the mercy of these guns too. It is our duty to give our support to those who are doing everything within their power to stop this useless killing.
Funds are needed desperately. Click to donate support for:
Aerial surveys to spot carcasses and poachers
A car for quick response on the ground to gun shots and alarms from volunteer scouts.
Please sign these petitions to stop the brutal slaughter of African Elephants:
I recently received the following report from Iain Douglas-Hamilton in Kenya. World Women Work supports two projects in Samburu National Reserve in northern Kenya – Save The Elephants and the Elephant Monitoring Project – and it is distressing when we have to report endangered animals, especially our majestic African elephants. We try to provide nice elephant pictures but in this case we hope that by highlighting the problem of elephant poaching we can rally support in stopping it.
Iain reports – We have a poaching crisis in the Mt Kenya forests that I thought you should be aware, reported by Associated Press yesterday (Elephants killed near Prince William, Kate cabin). Out of our seven elephants that we collared in December and January, already four are dead. The most recent was the elephant Prunella who died last week, caught in a gigantic snare presumably dying of thirst and starvation just before David and a Kenya Wildlife Service rescue team who arrived on the scene after trekking through unbelievable thick forest and broken country. We are now coping with the emergency in collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Service, Northern Rangelands Trust, Lewa and the Woodley Mt. Kenya Woodley Trust. We are glad that we were able to help identify this crisis surrounding radio tracking and thank our associates and our very generous donors who paid for the collars and the helicopter borne darting operation. This was greatly facilitated by Ian Craig and Kenya Wildlife Service working with Save The Elephants.
Iain suspects the rise in poaching in northern Kenya is linked to a high demand for ivory in Asia. Two other reports worth reading are: 4 elephants killed by poachers near Mt Kenya cabin where Prince William proposed, group says – AP Canada, and Combat Ivory Smugglers – from African Business Daily.
WorldWomenWork is proud to announce support for the Grevy’s Zebra Trust. Strong community involvement combined with cutting edge conservation techniques has begun to reverse decades of habitat degredation for a critically endangered species, the Grevy’s Zebra.
produced by www.swellpicturesinc.com
The Grevy’s Zebra Trust was established to conserve Grevy’s zebra, an endangered species, across its range in collaboration with local communities. Located in Kenya, with extension to Ethiopia, we recognise the critical role played by pastoral people whose livelihoods are inextricably linked to the same landscape.
produced by www.swellpicturesinc.com
The Last Great Tuskers
Save the Elephants has been monitoring elephants in Northern Kenya since 1995 through two key methods: individual identification and monitoring, and remote tracking using collars. STE is also heavily involved with monitoring the illegal killing of elephants in Samburu and Laikipia districts and works closely with the Kenya Wildlife Service to share data and identify poaching hotspots. Unfortunately, not only is poaching still widely evident in northern Kenya, but STE and KWS are starting to see smaller and smaller ivory tusks being confiscated off poachers. Any elephant carrying decent sized tusks these days will almost certainly be at threat from poachers during his or her lifetime. Amongst the elephants of northern Kenya there are still a handful of huge elephant bulls carrying majestic tusks. These large-tusked, old bull elephants carry some of the best genetics of the population and their survival is critical if their successful genes are to be passed onto the next generation.
STE already monitors some of these large bulls but resources are tight and the distances that they have to travel to monitor and collar these bulls are vast. WWW is helping to support STE’s efforts to monitor and track these last great tuskers and to assist with their protection.
The Chinese Road Phenomenon
Since 2007 the wild northern road that stretches from Mount Kenya up to the border of Ethiopia has been under intense construction by a Chinese Road company. The conversion of a rough track to a tarmac super-highway is anticipated to bring faster access to remote areas of northern Kenya helping to improve business links and tourism opportunities. Unfortunately the new road passes directly between three national reserves, Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba. Save the Elephants works in all three of these reserves monitoring and tracking elephant movements to help us understand elephant behaviour and how elephants use the environment. Despite the potential benefits for development, the highway has brought a number of problems to this once remote area. Incidents of poaching and bush meat hunting have soared since the construction camp was established next to Shaba. Additionally, wildlife is being hit by fast moving trucks as there are no speed bumps or traffic calming measures presently in place along the stretch of road passing through the reserves.
Two incidents of elephants and their calves being hit by trucks have been carefully reported on by STE staff but not all incidents will be so carefully tracked due to the time consuming nature of monitoring the road kill reports. WWW is helping to provide resources to STE to enable them to monitor and report on any road kill incidents that involve elephants and any other endangered species. Additionally the funds will support STE’s efforts to engage in a dialogue with the road company and county council officers to get better sign postage and traffic alert measures along the highway. These methods should help to warn drivers that they are entering a wildlife migration zone and that careful driving is required to avoid hitting crossing animals. STE will also continue to report all incidents of poached or injured elephants to Kenya Wildlife Service to assist them with controlling poaching outbreaks in the area.
Our intimate journey through Southern Africa will be led by Singer Rankin, founder of WorldWomenWork. “I had been traveling extensively in Africa and Asia for 25 years and was becoming increasingly concerned about the loss of habitat for wildlife and the seemingly endless cycle of poverty. One day as I was trekking on Kanchenjunga in Nepal, the world’s third largest mountain, and the idea just came to me: buy beautiful things made by indigenous women and sell them to my friends and women who love hand-crafted, quality goods. Then donate the profits to conservation and towards education projects for women. A simple way to change lives and help the environment!”…and thus WorldWomenWork was born.
For more information please visit “Explore” at:
please direct any email inquiries to:
Elephant Expert Iain Douglas-Hamilton Receives 2010 Indianapolis Prize
Indianapolis Zoo Press Release
June 3, 2010
WASHINGTON, June 3, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Relentless in his lifelong devotion to the elephants’ survival, Save the Elephants founder Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Ph.D., has been named the 2010 recipient of the Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading award for animal conservation. In recognition for his lifetime achievements, Dr. Douglas-Hamilton will receive $100,000 and the Lilly Medal at a gala ceremony presented by Cummins Inc. on Sept. 25, 2010, at The Westin Hotel in Indianapolis.
The colorful career of Iain Douglas-Hamilton has included being squashed by a rhino, targeted by poachers, and poked by elephants’ tusks. He has suffered malaria, hepatitis and other diseases so exotic most people have never even heard of them – not to mention the plane crashes he has survived. He has persevered through severe droughts and a flood so powerful it washed away years of research. So why does he endure all this? One reason – to save elephants.
Article at the following link:
For further information on elephants please see Save the Elephants’ web site
Nepal and Elephant Nature Park Thailand April 2010
I am more committed than ever to trying to make people understand that the beautiful things that World Women Work sells often come from the most chaotic places in the world. One such being , Nepal. I have just spent 4 days there and it is hard to describe what was once such an idyllic place is today so polluted, overwhelmed with cars, buses, motorcycles all spewing forth horrible fumes and too many people whose garbage is everywhere with a few sacred cows mixed in. The magnificent pashmina sweaters and shawls that I buy are made by untouchables. The creator of them is deeply involved in human rights. The constitution is being written and who knows what is going to happen. But out of this come magnificent things for World Women Work which have been created by the hands of women and men who are empowered because you buy them. I had lunch with the girls from Dolpo who I met 4 years ago two of whom are recipients of WWW scholarships and are now studying in Kathmandu.
produced by www.swellpicturesinc.com
And then the abused elephants at The Elephant Nature Park tell their own stories of horror at the hands of men. One weeps looking into the eyes of another being that is so ancient, magnificent and full of wisdom. Bua Loi with the broken back leg rescued a year and a half ago is thriving with her new friend. I hope that she has forgotten the tortuous years of logging, forced breeding and begging on the streets of Bangkok. Lanna, another World Women Work rescue, is the constant companion of Medo, whose pelvis was broken by forced breeding. Today they walk unchained probably for the first time in their lives under the constant watchful eyes of their mahouts being elephants. The last night in Chiang Mai after dinner a begging elephant walks the street by the restaurant among buses, cars and motorbikes in a stew of pollution..
APRIL | Singer travels to Katmandu, Nepal to buy from local artisans and visit the Elephant Nature Park that WorldWomenWork supports.
MAY | WorldWomenWork sponsors a trunk show in Pittsburgh. Details to come.
JUNE | WorldWomenWork offers a trunk show in Aspen, Colorado. Details to come.
JULY | WorldWomenWork presents a trunk show in Fishers Island, New York. Details to come.
JULY 9-11 | WorldWomenWork, in partnership with the International Folk Art Market will bring Nicholas Kristof to speak in Santa Fe. For more information about his book “Half the Sky” and his work visit: www.halftheskymovement.org
I want to update you on Losing the Elephants as a lot has happened!
It has has been a wrenching experience, one moment total agony, disbelief, the next joy.
I spent 2 weeks with the Swell Pictures crew in November filming the second part, the rescue of an elephant at the Surin Elephant Roundup with Lek. The people of Surin were traditionally excellent at capturing elephants in Cambodia and then training them as working animals. Today it’s entertainment to make a living, reenactment of past century battles with drugged elephants, rides and selling. We arrived in Surin after an 18hour drive. I felt a sense of foreboding. In the chaos of the elephant breakfast and rides an elephant lost it after being teased with food and attacked the woman who was hospitalized with a coma – don’t know the outcome. From there we went to the Army grounds where many elephants are being kept to look at one Lek hoped to buy, but she had died. We find another lady about 30 who has a broken leg from a logging accident in Burma, almost blind in one eye and then 5 years of begging on the streets of Bangkok. This is one of the most desperate scenes I have ever seen. Mahouts and families are living under tarpaulins surrounded by cooking fires, trash and filth. Poverty with elephants the only means of economic survival are brutally chained, some repeatedly throwing themselves on the ground in desperation. Stab wounds, malnutrition the norm, but we have found “Mae Bua Loi”- Floating Lotus – and the negotiations begin. The price $13,000 is agreed upon. She is going back to her village for a farewell ceremony.
We arrive at dusk the next evening. Lek joins the men sitting on the ground, the centerpiece a pig’s head on a platter with money and plenty of liquor for the goodbye ceremony and many spirits. We have had to rent a truck which is outfitted with tree trunks wrapped with blankets felled in the dark to keep her stable on the 20 hour trip back to the sanctuary. We leave about 8. Lek and I are sitting at her feet where fresh fruits – watermelon, mango, banana, jack fruit – are piled for her to munch on the 20 hour journey ahead. She towers over us, her eyes filled with fear, but she is calm. The next afternoon again sitting in the shadow of this magnificent creature we arrive at the Park. Everyone is waiting for us as we drive toward the river. She is unchained for the first time in how long and walks slowly with her new mahout to the river and then into the distance as the sun sets. Tears of joy abound!
The next morning the most incredible thing happens. Bua Loi is walking and munching on grass when out of the trees comes an elephant. They came together slowly with trunks outreached – much touching and feeling. They had lived together in the same village in Burma and had begged in Bangkok. They had not seen each other for 2 years!
As some of you know ‘Losing the Elephants’ premiered to a packed house at the 2008 Santa Barbara International Film Festival. It has gone on to be an official selection at a number of other prestigious festivals including Telluride Mountain Film and its traveling festival which will bring it to audiences worldwide. National Geographic Television chose it to be a part their series ‘Wild Chronicles’ and as a result, a condensed version of the film has been seen by PBS audiences nationwide.
The expected delivery of the re edited film in its full broadcast hour is this summer which will allow ample time to get the film out to the 2009 film festivals including the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. In addition the film will be presented to broadcast outlets, including National Geographic Television and the Discovery Channel. Thank you all so much for being a part of this incredible project.
Just a short update on my recent trip to Kenya and Zambia. WorldWomenWork helped with the installation of a solar system at the Westgate School in Samburu where there has never been electricity to study by at night. This has caused unbounded joy and the comment “It’s like a city.” WWW is also supporting a “Long Term Monitoring Program” with Save the Elephants which thru daily monitoring of elephants researchers are able to understand their movements, behavior and challenges – poaching and people! I went to the coast just south of the Somalian border to the Kiunga Marine Reserve and met WWW scholarship students who are the first girls in their families to go to school and are now teaching their fathers what type of hook and net to use for sustainable fishing. This is an area of abject poverty and the conditions of life are extreme. From there I went to Lamu and met another group who attend the Lamu Girls Boarding School. One of their dreams is to actually see zebra, eles in the wild. In Zambia WWW is funding from the “ground up” the Chiawa Womens Association, on the Lower Zambezie.The focus of this project is economic empowerment. They will be trained to draw and paint their own designs on fabrics creating tablecloths etc. for sale in lodges and hotels. Their excitement is not to be believed. Some of the women have never held a pencil. There is a lot to do! Singer
I’ve just returned from a wonderful trip to Kenya and Zambia. I found many beautiful new items to sell, and I also have exciting conservation news to share.
Rescued baby elephant from abuse (Faa Sai)
Every year Elephant Nature Park arranges a trip to Surin elephant round up festival to meet with more than 200 elephants who come home to join the festival.
Surin is the province that has most elephants in the country with over 60% of the elephant population in Thailand. Most of them work out side Surin, because the area is very dry and they cannot grow enough food. Many of them end up as street walkers, in circuses and shows and for tourist elephant riding.
The first day when we arrived at the camp we saw the man training his elephant. She is just a tiny female infant and her both legs were chained together. The owner forces her to show tricks to tourists as she struggles with the hobbles.
She is so skinny and appears to have mental problems with her head constantly shaking. She shows anger and impatience. Her mahout gave her food but she just threw it away. He told us the infant refuses food and water and screams loudly during the night .
Both her eyes are infected and full of tears all the time and they open only half-way.
We decided to talk to the owner and try to rescue her, but the negotiations are very difficult and an exorbitant price is asked for the youngsters freedom.
First day we go back – no answer. The second day we go again to talk. The volunteers who with us at the trip as Antoinette van Walter from Bring Elephant Home project, Marry , Cheryl , Magarette, pooled their money to start a rescue fund.
With the help of Singer Rankins from World Woman Work, Nancy Abraham from Alexander Abraham Foundation, Bert Von Roemer from Serengeti Foundation, Miss Marry Cover, Miss Cheryl McMeekan, Margaret Steenduk, Ms Elly Muller, Grant Perera and all donors who sent to Bert’s fund we are able to bring her to the park and offer her a new secure home.
We also have more funding from Faa-Sai which we arrange to rescued one more elephant (Tara).
Today Faa Sai walks freely at Elephant Nature Park and she receives plenty of love here with her new family. Mother elephants have accepted and have already adopted her.
“Tara”, meaning river, is the name of a 45 year old female elephant who had worked in tourist camps offering elephant rides and was used to haul heavy logs. She had injured her back when she was just 6 years old as a trekking elephant and was then put back to work at a logging camp.
Losing the Elephants’ examines an animal that is lodged deep in our psyches, and also one in dire straights. It is estimated that by the early 2050s there will no longer be a viable population of Asian Elephants left. Can we be satisfied with this outcome? Is it important to make sure that the elephants make it?
‘Losing the Elephants’ examines these questions and reveals elephants like no visit to the zoo or circus ever will.Click on movie trailer for a preview of “Losing the elephants”
I have just returned to Kathmandu from a two week trek in Mustang with friends. Many of the most beautiful things I buy for World Women Work are made here. The medieval feeling of Mustang creates a sense of other-worldliness, but the modern world is infringing upon this as the Chinese are about to build a road from the border of Tibet to Jomsom in Nepal. We met with the Mother’s Group in Jomson. They are a strong group of women who do much to make the environment they live in better and World Women Work is supporting a project with them. (Please see the project section for details). We are all worried about the Maoists, who are trying to overthrow the Nepalese government and are a constant source of friction here. Before we left for Mustang I did a lot of buying so it is always exciting to come back and see the results as much has been made in that time. I love trying on the beautiful pashmina jackets and seeing the jewelry that we have designed. This trip I have branched out into Tibetan rugs as our leader in Mustang has a rug factory where beautiful ones are made by women.
Nepal is very special to me; it is in fact where the idea for World Women Work was born.
I was on a World Wildlife Fund trek on Kanchenjunga in 1998, and as I was walking along one day I suddenly realized that I simply had to do something hands-on to help women and the environment – to help them be self-sufficient, preserve their culture, and combat the globalization of so many areas of the world that I love. I decided the best way I could do this was by buying beautiful things made by women, which would support and empower them economically.
It takes such a small amount to make a huge difference. I love to say that for the cost of a very good bottle of olive oil you can send a young girl to school in Bardia! I hoped by selling these beautiful things to people who have so much, and then returning the profits to educational and conservation programs in these same areas, that I could awaken others to the needs of women, to the necessity of preserving these cultures and wild places – and to make them care as much as I do.
“Hello! I am in Kenya on a buying trip before meeting friends who are joining me on a fundraising trip for World Women Work, Katy Payne’s Elephant Communication Project in the Congo, and Iain Douglas-Hamilton’s Elephant Research in Samburu. I buy the most beautiful things here.
“I am staying in Samburu at Oria Douglas-Hamilton’s Elephant Watch Camp. During the day we spend hours with the elephants that Iain is studying. The river is their favorite hangout. We watch as they dig with their feet a huge hole in the bank where they splash and cavort on top of each other. Every one is black with mud and doing something different – fighting, playing, touching – such chaos. Their trunks spike up from the water like antennae. The matriarchs take turns coming with their children. They lie down, rub against the bank, throw mud and generally have the most fabulous time.
“I go to the village, which is outside the park where the women from the Beading Project live. World Women Work is helping to fund this project that was started by Oria Douglas-Hamilton, and will sell the things they make. The land is overgrazed, and it is hot, windy and wild. The women are waiting for me.
“First we go to the house of a young girl who has a WWW Scholarship. The house is made of cow dung and mud. The entrance is tiny and I can barely get through it. There are 3 little rooms with a fire in the middle. I am given a stool – a place of honor – the rest sit on cow hides on the floor. We then walk hand in hand across a dry river bed to the thatched hut that is to be the beading center. The women are so beautifully dressed in bright colors dripping in their beaded jewelry. They stand out against the earth tones of the land like bright birds. This is in many ways like Nepal.”
Where Peter Mattheisssen wrote “The Snow Leopard”
My last trip to Nepal in August and September of 2005 was very productive. I bought many new things in Kathmandu for shows this fall. However the main purpose of my visit was a trek in Dolpo in the west of Nepal on the Tibetian border. It was a three week trek in one of the most beautiful areas I have ever been. Because of the Maoist problems, we were not allowed to meet Snow Leopard anti-poaching people or visit some of the schools and other projects that World Women Work has been involved in.
Dunai Boarding School
When we arrived in Dunai at the end of the trip, I was very fortunate to be able to spend time at the Dunai Boarding School. I met four young girls — three in grade 8 and one in grade 10 — who came from very poor families in Upper Dolpo. The number of yaks that a family owns is their wealth. Each of these families only owned three yaks. The girls wanted to finish secondary school but are in need of continued scholarship aid. It costs $500 a year to attend this Boarding School, which by our standards is nothing. Their ambitions to become a teacher, a nurse, a traditional healer, and a Park Warden are in jeopardy, so what a wonderful opportunity for World Women Work to be able to help these four young women realize their goals. It makes me very happy that I can give back to such a beautiful place that not many people have ever seen and hopefully be a contributor to saving a way of life – simplicity and being a part of nature not found often in the global world of today.
“We stay in Johannesburg, where there are so many beautiful objects to buy for World Women Work, from hand embroidered cushion covers and placemats to recycled telephone wire baskets. I go to Soweto with an old friend from London, and Nicholas Jaff, who heads the Bright Kids Foundation. He uses old containers from ships that he has retrofitted as classrooms for pre-school children and places them in townships too poor to have enough school rooms. We visit one. The two teachers are wonderful and the children are so cute! They sing for us. I am sold and commit to WWW’s sponsorship of one “Edutainer,” as they are called. Our logo with the Ethiopian woman and baby will be on the side. The other sponsor is Citibank.
“Sixty percent of the kids’ parents – who themselves are between the ages of fourteen and thirty – end up going to school because their children are, so I feel we are helping not only children but their entire families as well.
“From here it is on to Botswana with Katy Payne and the elephants. We spend an entire day at one water hole under the shade of a camel thorn acacia that we climb and perch in from time to time as respite from the cramped quarters of the Land Rover. A couple of elephants come to drink, many birds, a leopard, and finally one lone elephant who completely submerges like a whale. Then a few bulls who go off in another direction, so we decide to follow. What we find are 25 bulls all playing together in a huge waterhole – trunks wrapped around each other, pushing, rolling, throwing water, butting their tusks, facing off. In the midst of this elephant playground appears a breeding herd of maybe 70 cows and calves thundering down to the waterhole. The little ones race to keep up with their mothers. They mix with the bulls, trumpeting and causing complete chaos! We are then surrounded as they leave. Their curiousity is amazing as they encircle our vehicle… almost touching it. Then they go. There is such a sense of fun and playfulness about them. They are constantly touching and communicating with one another. Katy interprets the whole time.”