The Independent's Elephant Appeal Christmas Auction to Benefit Space for Giants

Damien Hirst's ' Charity Paper Spins'.
Photo via The Independent © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.
All rights reserved, DACS 2013

The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, i and London Evening Standard are proud to launch The Independent's Elephant Appeal Christmas campaign in association with Space for Giants, with support from Jude Law, Clare Balding, Boris Johnson and Bear Grylls. Space for Giants raises money to combat elephant poaching in Africa.

The Christmas campaign will shine a light on the ongoing conservation crisis, in addition to raising much needed funds through exclusive auctions for a variety of exclusive gifts and experiences - from VIP tickets to Henry V, with a backstage Champagne reception with Jude Law at the Noel Coward Theatre, to Boris Johnson's signed cycling helmet, or a survival weekend at the Bear Grylls Survival Academy. Other auction items include, lunch at Westminster with a guided tour and all the gossip from Political Editor Andrew Grice, an eight-day luxury safari in Kenya, a VIP night at Ronnie Scott's with the legendary venue's Artistic Director James Pearson where you will choose the tunes performed, and a private stand-up comedy routine in your living room (or local pub) by acclaimed comic Mark Steel. For a full list of lots available, see below.

Led by the proprietor of The Independent and London Evening Standard, Evgeny Lebedev, along with Space for Giants CEO Dr. Max Graham, a team will visit the 10,000 km² Laikipia Plateau in north-central Kenya. The Independent will be reporting regularly from the ground in Kenya - visiting conservation areas, reporting on the illegal poaching economy and highlighting the education and training programme in place to train rangers to defend against poachers.

Last year, thousands of Africa's elephants were killed to supply illegal ivory to markets throughout the world. Increasingly, revenue generated from this blood ivory is being using to fuel war and terrorism in Africa. The Independent's Elephant Appeal is designed to raise money to support rangers on the ground to protect Kenya's elephants from armed poachers, together with Space for Giants' longer-term work to create new wildlife sanctuaries where elephants will be safe, forever.

Amol Rajan, Editor of The Independent, said: "The Independent has always supported conservation and end environmental issues. The Independent Elephant Appeal has a vital contribution to make to Space for Giants and its incredible work in protecting these wonderful creatures."

Dr. Max Graham, CEO of Space for Giants, said: "We are so proud to be a part of The Independent Elephant Appeal and thank them for shining their hugely valuable support. There is grave concern for the survival of these incredible animals and the money and attention we raise through this campaign will make a real difference on the ground in Kenya."

Key facts about the current poaching crisis:

- It is difficult to determine exactly how many elephants there are as they are hard to count in forests. Currently there are an estimated 400,000 in Africa.
- Up to 12% of Africa's elephants were killed in 2011. Central Africa is believed to have lost up to 20% of its elephants in that year alone. Rates of loss in 2012 and 2013 are believed to have been even higher.
- Elephants are being killed for ivory across the continent in the 37 elephant range states, from Mali and South Africa, to Ethiopia and Zambia, the rate that elephants are being killed is more than 100 a day.
- For example Gabon's 60,000 forest elephants are being wiped out at the rate of a few thousand a year.
- In Central African Republic there were 50,000 forest elephants in the 1970s, now there are 3,000.
- Chad once home to 15,000 elephants in 1979 now has less than 400 elephants.
- Sierra Leone lost its last elephant in 2011.

About Space for Giants: Space for Giants is an international conservation charity whose mission is to secure a future for the largest mammals on earth forever, to be enjoyed by humanity forever, by ensuring that they have the space and security to live and move freely in the wild forever. CEO Dr. Max Graham, a fluent Kiswahili speaker who has worked on environment and development projects in Afghanistan, Ecuador, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Gabon, has been involved in elephant research and conservation since 2000 and in 2006 was awarded a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He has published numerous scientific papers on elephant behaviour, human-elephant conflict and wildlife conservation and in 2012 became a member of the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group. Dr. Max is a visiting academic of the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge and the chairman of the Laikipia Wildlife Forum's Conservation Committee. He has been based in north Kenya for more than a decade. More information on Space for Giants can be found at www.spaceforgiants.org.




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