LETTER FROM THE FOUNDER
Dear global citizen,
As a lover of wildlife, I know many people, my friends included, who think how could I be worried about an elephant, rhino, tiger, whale, or a Monarch butterfly when there are so many human problems that need help? From diseases to mass killings and human rights violations to population growth, there is no shortage of issues… So, what is wrong with me? Do I care for animals more than people?
Wild animals, marine life, our beloved dogs and cats… I don’t see their survival and ours as an either/or proposition. It’s not a competition. If I choose to live near Mountain Lion habitat and I leave my dog outside out at night and he isn’t there in the morning, I don’t expect the Fish & Wildlife Service to come and kill the Mountain Lion. Either I am respectful of these apex predators and cautious when living in their habitat—or I can play the victim and call the authorities to come kill the lion.
Who cares about an elephant or a polar bear and her cubs? Many do, but not enough of us. Maybe, I was just lucky enough to come within feet of a bull elephant and experience its immense power and beauty, a “holy shit” moment, that fundamentally changed who I am. Maybe, that I, great and brilliant biped that I am, am not the most important thing in the world. When we ask “who cares?” and “why bother?” protecting these animals. Like Cecil the lion, maybe those questions make us an ignorant and narcissistic species. Maybe the human belief that we are Masters of the Universe is sadly, not true. Can you believe it? Sigh… I am still an animal. Last I checked, elephants don’t practice genocide like humans do. Who’s the sane one here?
I don’t believe nature exists for my amusement, nor do I consider it a luxury for the wealthy. Go outside and you and IT are connected. Always. Breathe? Drink water much? Look at trees, the sky, a river? Ever wonder why so many ads use nature and animals to promote their brands? Where would Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, Red Bull, Puma, Roberto Cavalli, PRADA, Jaguar, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors or even GEICO and AFLAC be without a leopard, a lizard or a duck? Boring and unmemorable. Why do sports teams use animals? Because these wild beings live in our collective psyche. Thousands of years ago, they were Gods. These animals are the purest forms of life on the planet and without them we perish. You may not believe this, but I do.
What many fail to understand about wildlife conservation is that the money doesn’t go to the animal. It goes to the people who choose to live (or not) with their wildlife. When an elephant raids a farmer’s field, either a wildlife conservancy or the government compensates the farmer for his loss, or not, in which case, he does something drastic like poison a watering hole which kills the elephant and many other animals, as well. In the US west, ranchers perhaps despise wolves more than an African farmer does the elephant. Same issue, but our government compensates the rancher. The African farmer needs the same consistent support. In my mind, community education, humanitarianism, healthy ecosystems, abundant wildlife….they’re ALL linked together. As John Muir said, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”
ROCK THE ELEPHANT® will not sit on the sidelines and watch as this great and magical beast of the African continent disappears because the world community couldn’t figure out soon enough that Africa’s wildlife and its environment are valuable and warrant protection, from a moral AND economic perspective, more than any other one industry.
A global illegal wildlife trade run by a few criminal kingpins in position to bribe corrupt officials and kill endangered species face little risk. Are you okay with this status quo? We work to see their day of comeuppance.
Wildlife and nature have become out of sight, out of mind. IT IS TIME for that to end—or we lose everything. Here’s to CONSCIOUSNESS RISE.
Founder ROCK THE ELEPHANT®