Join the Herd! Meet Our Esteemed Panel of Judges and Learn What it Takes to Win
Washington, D.C. (Nov 8, 2017) - With 30 percent of African elephants disappearing in the last decade alone, the National Wildlife Federation and Paul Allen’s Vulcan Productions are asking students ages 9-18 to help us find the next big idea that could make a material difference for African elephants with the Every Elephant Counts Contest. The student with the winning idea will be awarded an all-expense-paid trip for three to Abu Camp in the Okavango Delta, Botswana to experience a true African Safari and meet Naledi, the baby elephant who started it all.
In recent years it has become clear that African elephant numbers are dropping at an alarming rate. Poaching, habitat loss, human population, and climate change are all contributing to their dramatic decline and the National Wildlife Federation and Vulcan Productions want to do something about it.
The National Wildlife Federation and Vulcan Productions joined forces to launch the Every Elephant Counts Contest. The project was inspired by the real story of Naledi, One Little Elephant, a documentary film which premiered on PBS: NATURE’s Season 36 earlier this year. Naledi’s mother died when she was just 6 weeks old and she required a dedicated team of people to step in to save her life. Far from unique, Naledi’s story illustrates the problems that have led to the current elephant crisis. We now know that we are losing 96 elephants a day, or 25,000 to 30,000 annually. Data from Paul Allen’s 2016 Great Elephant Census found that we have lost 30 percent of the African savanna elephant population in less than 7 years.
Visit the Every Elephant Counts Contest website to:
Parents, teachers and students can use our classroom activities to build their knowledge of African elephants and think critically about the issues affecting their survival. By doing the activities in the classroom or as part of a club project, students will be better prepared to describe their understanding of the science and human dimensions affecting African elephants’ survival and develop their best idea to help save them. Students are encouraged to submit their ideas through the contest website by November 23rd for their chance to win a trip to Botswana to meet Naledi face to face.
Our esteemed panel of judges will select our grand prize winner and two runners-up. Judges include:
Collin O’Mara, President and CEO, National Wildlife Federation
“African elephants--the world’s largest land mammals--require big solutions if we are going to ensure their survival for generations to come. We simply cannot allow these invaluable species to vanish on our watch. As a father of two young girls, I am so excited to see what creative ideas students from around the nation will come up with to save African Elephants. Every elephant counts and every idea counts, too!”
Laura Turner Seydel, Chairperson of the Captain Planet Foundation
“For over 2 decades through my involvement with Captain Planet Foundation, I have bore witness to the amazing capacity that kids have to understand and empathize with the plight of animals at risk. Kids not only put their creativity to work imagining great solutions, but they put their energy into implementing their ideas. I am excited to see what they can do to help solve the African elephant crisis!”
Jack Hanna, TV’s Wildlife Advocate and Director Emeritus Columbus Zoo
“I grew up loving animals and wanting to learn as much as possible about wildlife. I understand the passion young people have for animals. Africa is like a second home to us; and the brutal poaching of African elephants for their ivory tusks and loss of habitat is something that must stop. Education is essential and I am hopeful Every Elephant Counts Contest will help this generation understand what is really at stake and realize the power they hold to do something about it."
Aidan Gallagher, Actor and Star of Nickelodeon’s Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn
“Elephants are not only beautiful, but we must protect them as a vital part of their ecosystem. Elephants maintain the biodiversity of their habitats by digging water troughs and creating pathways in vegetation where new plants can grow and that other animals can use. Trees also rely on elephants for seed dispersal. Elephants are disappearing because of climate change drought conditions and being poached for their ivory. Please help me bring awareness to the critical survival of these beloved animals.”
Shana Tischler, Sr. Wildlife Program Officer, Vulcan
“The decimation of elephant populations from poaching and habitat loss is not just a symbol of the devastation of wildlife across the planet; it is forcing us to make a difficult choice of how we will live in harmony with wildlife. Your generation will be responsible for developing solutions to protecting elephants and other wildlife and the time to act is now.”
Dan Ashe, President and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums
“We are losing 96 elephants every day. They are being killed for their ivory tusks. We must inform and inspire the next generation of conservationists to help address this crisis. The Every Elephant Counts contest encourages innovative solutions that will help save African elephants. Elephants at AZA-accredited zoos are ambassadors for their species that help to educate visitors and inspire life-long conservationists, and I’m looking forward to seeing what young minds come up with to address these issues.”
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