Dalai Lama Supports a Canadian Tour Company in its Fight to Save Elephants

Dalai Lama Supports a Canadian Tour Company in its Fight to Save Elephants

100 Miles for Elephants

A Small Travel Company Fights for a Big Cause - Elephants!

Hidden Places TravelFounders of Hidden Places Travel, veterinarian Dr. Dag Goering and his wife, Maria Coffey, have received support from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in their fight to save elephants from catastrophic poaching.

 

In 2007 Dag had a life-changing encounter with a baby elephant in India that led him and Maria to start Elephant Earth, the conservation branch of their adventure travel company, Hidden Places. Currently they are focused on efforts to combat the huge escalation in the poaching of elephants for their ivory tusks.

 

"Africa has become a Killing Fields for elephants," says Dag. "Around 100 a day are being slaughtered for their ivory. Unless urgent action is taken, there may be no more wild African elephants within 15 years."

 

One of the forces driving the ivory trade is its use in religious artifacts, which led Dag and Maria to approach the Dalai Lama, asking him to speak out on behalf of elephants. To their astonishment and delight, they got a reply within a couple of weeks. The Dalai Lama wrote a personal letter, referring to his childhood in Tibet, which he remembers as a place where wild animals roamed free. He sadly admits how this has changed, all over the world. 


Dalai Lama"We need to consider how our actions affect wildlife and the environment, and how they are likely to affect others," the Dalai Lama writes. "We human beings are the only species with the power to destroy the natural world as we know it. Yet, if we have such a capacity for destruction, so, too, do we have the capacity to protect wildlife and the environment, and I believe we have an urgent responsibility to do so. I am happy to lend my support to the Elephant Earth Initiative and its efforts to protect elephants from unnecessary suffering and death."


As well as going to top spiritual leaders for help, the couple is also working at ground level, supporting a group of community anti-poaching scouts in Northern Kenya. "One of the most effective ways to stop poaching is to get local communities involved," says Dag. "Their eyes and ears are the first line of defense against poachers."


In September, Dag and Maria are leading a fundraising trek in Kenya, "100 Miles for Elephants", with all donations going to community anti-poaching groups in the area. "Our trek will be a life-changing adventure to save the lives of elephants," says Maria. It's been chosen by National Geographic Traveler Magazine as one of their 2013 Tours of a Lifetime and is featured in this month's issue with a double-page spread of one of Dag's photos. For the online version, see: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/tours/africa-tours-2013/

 

>> See Hidden Places Travel's member profile

 

Photo Credit: Hidden Places Travel

 

 

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