On Saturday 13th April, countries around the world rallied together for the 5th annual Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, this time rallying for action for all endangered species.
I was lucky enough to spend the day at the London march alongside hundreds of campaigners, marching from Cavendish Square through the city to Downing Street and I was totally blown away by the turnout. People of all ages took to the streets armed with placards, megaphones and even an inflatable elephant. The choice of clothing ranged from anti-hunting t-shirts to full blown wildlife costumes - crocodiles, lions, giraffe; all a stark reminder of why we were there.
Starting in Cavendish Square we heard from the likes of Dan Richardson, Bella Lack, Christine MacSween and Pieter Kat before leaving for the hour long walk through the city to Downing Street, where we had speeches from Mark Jones, Nicky Campbell, Peter Egan and Eduardo Goncalves.
The aim of the march was calling for the UK government to ban the import of hunting trophies of endangered species into the UK. Around 2,500 trophies have been brought home by British hunters over the past decade including those of lions, elephants, giraffes and leopards. Focus was also drawn to the plight of lions in South Africa in the canned hunting industry and a generous shout out to Claws Out featured in Dan Richardson's speech.
The march was also aptly timed just before the next annual CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP18). We called for the support of the CoP proposal to uplist elephants to Appendix I and for the rejection of proposals to allow the trade in ivory and trade of the Southern White Rhino.
All in all it was a privilege to march alongside so many passionate and like-minded people for such a good cause, reflected in spectators erupting in applause and we passed restaurants and bars in Piccadilly. Only time will tell if the petition handed in to the government, adorned with 155,000 signatures, will make the much needed difference to our wildlife.
Have a click through the images below and see if you spot yourself!
Also worth mentioning, and good timing for the day of the march, was a Telegraph article released in the UK written and researched by Sally Williams. Entitled "The Big Cat Con", Sally explores the exploitation of lions in South Africa and I'm so pleased to have been involved with it.