grandma who is saving a species
IN 3 weeks time On October 4
people in cities throughout the world will march to save Elephants
and Rhinos. With an elephant being killed for its ivory every 15
minutes the species could be extinct in a few years.
From San Francisco to Sri Lanka, and Abu Dhabi to Australia, people
around the world are marching to save the species. Celebrity
supporters include Richard Branson, Stephen Fry, Ricky Gervais,
Joanna Lumley, Michaela Strachan, Bill Bailey, and more. And in
Liverpool the March is going ahead thanks to the tireless
determination of one ordinary grandma, Hazel Jones.
Hazel, 54, works as an NHS pharmacy technician at Royal Liverpool
Hospital and has 2 children and 2 grandchildren. Yet in between the
day job and the childminding she is the force behind the only march
in the North West.
Only 2 years ago this advocate for elephants knew nothing about them
and had never been involved in any sort of activism. Hazel; who
admits her favourite animal is actually a giraffe; 1st learned
about elephants 2 years ago when she was planning a trip to
Thailand. Looking forward to the holiday, she told a junior house
doctor at work that she was planning to ride an elephant, and was
surprised at her response.
The colleague sent Hazel a video and asked her to watch it. She
explains. "It was about how elephants are trained to make them
docile for tourists. It is called Phajaan, and involves starving and
beating them; it is truly horrific. I was really upset and told her
I would never ride an elephant after seeing that. She recommended a
humane alternative, Elephant Nature Park (ENP), and things developed
Although Hazel was not able to visit ENP on her first visit,
researching it sparked an interest in elephant welfare and the
following year, after much anticipation; and spending the year
reading up on the plight of elephants; she finally visited the
sanctuary in Chang Mai.
Elephant Nature Park is a rehabilitation centre in Northern Thailand
where you can volunteer to help the dozens of rescued elephants
which have been saved from a life of street begging. The park
provides a natural environment for elephants, dogs, cats, buffaloes
and many other animals, and also works with the local community.
So last year, armed with bulging
'Scouse suitcases' full of
donations including everything from children's clothes to medical
equipment, dog collars and wellies, Hazel and her husband Martyn
arrived at the park. Hazel says:- "My family were
worried sick because I'd been so excited building it up all year
they thought I might be disappointed. I wasn't though' it was
incredible. We stayed overnight and washed and fed the elephants;
one of which was newly rescued. It was a really special time, and we
are going back next year."
In the meantime back home in
Liverpool, Hazel has not been idle. In between working and caring
for her family, she has become a tireless campaigner. Last October
Hazel travelled to London to be a marshal for the first
International March for Elephants and met a cohort of like minded
people who subsequently formed the group Action4Elephants UK which
works to stop the slaughter of elephants and ensure their survival
as a species.
...continued... Since then Hazel has conducted a
peaceful protest at the Chinese Embassy; as China is the main
market for illicit ivory; and written to bishops and museums to ask
them what they intend to do with their ivory stocks and ask them to
help raise awareness of the cruelty behind the trinkets.
Then earlier this year this 1 woman whirlwind of activity took it
upon herself to organise a March for Elephants and Rhinos in
Liverpool and in doing so has gained support from all over the
world, with a poster for the Liverpool march designed and sent to
Hazel by a supporter from South Africa.
Despite having no experience of organising such a large scale event,
in the last few months Hazel has managed a social media campaign,
dealt with the Council and police to agree a route, raised public
liability insurance, and galvanised support from everyone from
students at LJMU and Liverpool University to Chester Zoo and
Knowsley Safari Park. She has written to celebrities and organised a
bag pack in Sainsburys, leaving no stone unturned in her crusade to
save a species.
So far over 200 people have pledged to join the march; but with
posters springing up all over the City centre and a growing band of
advocates, Hazel hopes there will be many more on the day.
Hazel said that:- "I have
never done anything like this before and it has been a huge
challenge, but there is a lot of support out there. Going to
Thailand was wonderful, but there is a lot to be done here on our
doorstep. All of us in Action4Elephants are just everyday
people. We are not professional activists, just a group of people
who are in this together. From never doing anything like this I am
now a dab hand at risk assessments and land use agreements, and I
will talk to anyone. I've even taken my grandchildren to meetings
with the Council and the Thai consulate just to get things done. I
would love everyone in Liverpool and across the North West to join
our march on 4 October. We start at the bombed out church and will
have speakers and face painting and children's crafts; it is a day
for everyone. The route finishes at the Queen Victoria monument in
Derby Square. It's a large area, but I am hoping to fill it. I am
just an ordinary person, but I am not prepared to stand back and let
elephants and rhinos die out. If we don't act now to stop the
slaughter they will be gone in 15 years, and I refuse to be part of
a world that just stands by to watch these magnificent creatures
On 4 October 2014 Liverpool will participate in The Global March for
Elephants and Rhinos to draw attention to the crisis facing these
2 species and to call for an end to the ivory and rhino horn trade
that is pushing them rapidly towards extinction.
Will you join Liverpool's March? There has never been a more
critical time for these two endangered species, as an unprecedented
poaching frenzy now puts their very existence in to question.
The Global March for Elephants and
Rhinos is the united voice of outrage, compassion and concern that
is responding to this horror and calling for an end to the slaughter
of these gentle and highly intelligent beings.
We hope that You will join us on The Global March for Elephant and
Rhinos in Liverpool on 4 October 2014, at 2pm, (craft and face painting
available from 1 pm), from St Luke's Gardens, Leece Street, Liverpool.