A graphic novel addressing the global ivory trade and slaughter of African elephants titled A Dangerous Life was launched today at a ceremony hosted at the Library of Congress famed Thomas Jefferson Building. The launch was a partnership of Kenya Wildlife Service, The Animal Welfare Institute and the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress.
A Dangerous Life, is aimed at middle school aged readers, is written and illustrated by Sheila Hamannka and published by Animal Welfare Institute and KWS. In vivid illustrations and text, it tells the story of a teen girl from America whose family made a fortune in the early 20th Century from elephant ivory. She takes a trip to Africa, where she encounters wild elephants and witnesses firsthand the terrible price they pay to meet the demand for ivory. She and the Chinese and Kenyan friends she meets on her trip vow to save elephants and educate people about ivory and where it comes from.
The KWS Deputy Director of Strategy & Change Mr. Edwin Wanyonyi spoke at the event of the enormous task of stopping poachers on the ground. “As I speak, it is now evening in Kenya, and Kenya Wildlife Service ranger patrols are at this moment probing through that evening darkness protecting our wildlife. KWS officers are right now conducting surveillance efforts and investigations trying to identify trafficking gangs so that they can be arrested and prosecuted”. But he added “we are fighting international criminal syndicates that are motivated by extremely powerful financial incentives. Our hope is that the novel will educate and inspire young readers to become advocates for conservation and help society turn away from ivory.”
“It is important that young people all over the world understand the true cost of ivory to innocent elephant lives” remarked AWI President Cathy Liss. We need to the world to know that this is happening and that we must not only support strong enforcement but cut off demand.
The function was also supported by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) a long time champion of conservation and attended by Assistant Director for Special Programmes Mr. Ibrahim Ogle, Dr. Bill Clark the KWS USA Liaison officer and TNC Country Director Munira Bashir among others.
Kenya is being featured at the Smithsonian Institutes Folk life Festival under the theme of Kenya, Mambo Poa. The book will be distributed at the festival and will also be distributed in Kenya and in particular to visitors of Kenya’s national parks.