Elephant Awareness at Guild Hall

Battle for the Elephants
Battle for the Elephants

Everyone is driven by a cause; some selfish needs and wants, others, more altruistic. Davina Dobie falls into the second grouping. One of the most passionate and fascinating people I’ve ever had the chance to speak with during my relatively short writing career, Dobie puts the plight of the elephant before any other and openly discusses the absurdity of the ivory trade. I always knew about the ivory trade and its effect on Asian and African elephants. But I never understood how anyone could actually be so monstrous as to genuinely want items made out of ivory. It seems ridiculous, but apparently, it’s still a major issue.

Dobie is hoping to change that by hosting a night at Guild Hall, through her organization The Silent Trumpet. By presenting the National Geographic documentary Battle For the Elephants, Dobie hopes to raise awareness for the horrors happening every day to the elephant by African and Asian poachers.

“It’s important for people to be aware of what’s happening. Once you dive into it, there’s so much information, it’s shocking,” Dobie said. “It’s tragic, and honestly, I cry every time I read about it. It’s so brutal.”

One of the more shocking things I learned while chatting about the elephants was how the numbers dwindled so much over the span of a hundred or so years. Starting in 1900, there were around 10 million wild elephants roaming and living the beautiful plains of Africa. By 2012, there were less than half a million. These are genocide numbers. “The purpose of the screening of Battle for the Elephants is awareness and knowledge. By watching this film, the audience will come to understand and notice the massive war we face in this plight to save the elephant; in that Asia has little concept of what horrors truly lie behind what they conceive as a mere luxury or status symbol,” Dobie said. “Atrocious, quite honestly!”

Dobie, an artist, is from Kenya and draws upon what she loves through her artistic endeavors. When she came to New York, the original idea was to get her artwork out to the public and showcase her abilities. “I got involved after a couple of meetings where we set up groups to try and make a few changes,” Dobie said. “The slaughter is just horrific. When I came here [to New York], I thought, ‘What could I do?’ and wanted to bring awareness to this part of the world to Long Island. I was surprised to see how little people knew about what was going on.”

“East Enders are very receptive to the atrocities going on,” Dobie said. “I was pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction. I’m very happy, but it needs to get out further. I believe with this event, The Battle For the Elephants, it’ll make a ripple, if not a tidal wave, which would be nice. It remains to be seen, but I’m doing everything in my life to make it happen. Africa in its unity needs to make the elephant and rhinoceros (which is also under great threat of extinction for its horn) International Treasures. The same model for preserving the panda in China needs to be instituted for the elephant in Africa.”

I was moved listening to Dobie talk about the plight of the elephant. I feel it’s one of the more worthy causes out there and while it’s not necessarily in the news all the time, it’s certainly something that should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. This is a horrifically brutal trade these days, driven by greed and the desire to illustrate one’s status. Those on the East End really don’t need to display their status, so, why not set a trend? Help stop one of the ugliest animal-related massacres in the world by not chasing after ivory. On August 10, go to Guild Hall and watch a presentation of Battle For the Elephants for a good cause. Learn more by visiting Guild Hall online. “We’ve got very interesting people coming to talk, attached to various foundations, so it should be an enlightening evening,” Dobie said.

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