I recently returned to Kenya after my trip to China to promote Elephants’ awareness and conservation. We held 3 exhibitions and lectures in the main banks of China in the coastal city of Qingdao: Bank of China, China Construction Bank and China Merchants’ Bank. We also held lectures at the main universities in Qingdao, Ocean University and Qingdao University. The idea behind the campaign, titled “The Power of Photography for Conservation” was to take the participants on a photographic journey in a day in the life of a herd of Elephants on the plains of Africa, to portray their intelligence, their social relations, their ability to feel emotions in a very similar way to ours, and at the end showing them how the future for the Elephants is now in extreme danger due to demand for ivory products coming from China.
Overall, I was amazed and positively impressed at how people reacted to the whole idea, in particular to the stories of my life in the bush with the animals and the stories behind the images shown. The students at the university partecipated in mass to the the lecture, showing a sincere interest for my life in Africa and for the Elephants. Clients and staff members of the banks responded equally warmly, asking countless questions, with a real open mind and a willingness to know more about what is really happening in Africa. The institutions themselves, banks and universities, gave the whole campaign an extraordinary support. All of this makes me hopeful that a change might come soon in the way China relates to wildlife. Of course, this was only a first phase of our campaign and we hope to continue next year with more lectures and exhibitions in different cities also, plans are already under way.