Portland March for Elephants and Rhinos

elephant-babyAnimal enthusiasts, especially large, exotic animal enthusiasts may be excited to hear the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos (GMER) is coming to Portland and they want you! On September 24, Portland will be one of over 135 cities in 37 countries rallying for an end to the ivory and rhino horn trade.

Marches will coincide with CoP17, the 17th meeting of the Conference of Parties, which is the largest meeting on the international trade of wildlife. GMER aims to pressure delegates from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES) to vote for the strictest possible protections for elephants and rhinos, among other endangered species.

CITIES is a global treaty aimed at protecting species from becoming endangered or extinct through international trade practices. Composed of 181 member countries, CITIES protection currently extends to over 35,000 species while establishing the framework to combat international wildlife trafficking.

According to GMER, around 25,000 to 50,000 elephants are poached each year mainly for trade on the illegal ivory market. Rhinos have become increasingly poached, with an estimated 5,940 slaughtered since 2008. Over the last 100 years, elephant and rhino populations have dropped from the millions to between 250,000 to 400,000 elephants and 20,000 white rhinos. There are only around 5,000 black rhinos.

GMER has produced an extensive list of changes that must take place across the world. The short version is this: governments must take leadership and crack down on trafficking and marketing practices, enforcement must be taken seriously and punishment for violations must be more punitive, and international cooperation must improve.

If you agree with GMER’s goals and want to ensure the survival of these big, beautiful species, head on up to Portland to join the global community on Saturday, September 24, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The march begins at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 364 SW Madison Street. For more information, check out the GMER website at http://march4elephantsandrhinos.org/ and the Portland GMER Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/272932659723745/

By  Anthony Vitale