It’s going to take the collaborative efforts of conservationists, activists, scientists and ordinary people to end the illegal wildlife trade – Sec. Clinton…
Going back four years…
It all started almost four years ago when Russ and I were introduced to the amazing work of Shannon and Ben Hoffman. While experiencing the splendor of the raptors of the sky and learning of the plight of South Africa’s birds of prey we wanted to help. Being far from wealthy we had to get others involved.
In early 2010 we founded Nikela as a vehicle to help people saving wildlife in South Africa. Little did I know how this journey would unfold! Here I thought ‘wildlife conservation’ was simply about preserving wild animals and birds… was I wrong! We came face to face with issues like human-wildlife conflict, the horrors of poaching, conservation economics, the complexities of wildlife trafficking and the controversies surrounding private ownership of exotic species.
Over the past two and a half years we’ve had to decide who we can and cannot support in our effort to fulfill Nikela’s mission to Protect Now and Educate for the Future. We’ve had to carefully evaluate how to best spend our time (which we volunteer) and who gets your donations (100% of which go to the project of your choice.)
With so many wildlife protection or conservation issues vying for attention we’ve explored how to best narrow our focus so we can do the most good. As the illegal wildlife trade has increasingly become the greatest threat to survival of many species (endangered and otherwise) we’ve spent much time trying to understand this insidious plaque and how we can help stop the killing.
At the recent State Department meeting, on November 8th 2012, US Secretary Hillary Clinton called us (conservationists, activists, advocates, scientists and all interested in saving our planet’s wildlife ) to band together to end wildlife trafficking. Besides the devastation this illegal industry is having on our natural environment, with the growth in crime syndicates involved, it is now a threat to our security as people and as nations. After listening to Secretary Clinton and with the US making wildlife trafficking a priority, we knew what we had to do.
Looking at 2013
In 2013 Nikela will Protect Now by supporting legitimate on the ground anti-poaching efforts with your donations, as well as, Educating for the Future via 1) targeted online awareness campaigns and 2) offline activities to reduce the purchasing of products made from wildlife body parts.
To make these happen we will continue to work with existing partners and volunteers as well as involve new friends with innovative ideas, expertise and time. As we are outlining all three we welcome your input.
Nikela’s Three Focus Areas
ONE: Online fundraising to support projects addressing rhino and endangered species protection
- Each project is, and will be, carefully evaluated and monitored to assure its effectiveness.
- Various online campaigns to invite donations will be organized.
TWO: Awareness campaigns via the Social Networks
- This past year we have found our limited Facebook and Twitter campaigns have been quite effective in their reach, so the plan is expand our efforts by building on what worked
THREE: Offline activities such as large group presentations and small gatherings like Graze for Rhinos
- Large group presentation: Russ and I travel with our “day job”. RV Resorts provide captive audiences to share information with and request donations as we’ve done with “Stories from Africa.” Plans are to create a program directed at being entertaining as well as informative regarding purchasing items made from wildlife body parts.
- Small gatherings: Nicole brought friends together over food and drinks to share information with Graze for Rhinos. We plan to use this idea and create an information packet so that anyone anywhere who cares to get together and make a difference can.