Thousands of virtual elephants will be released in Manchester, in the first leg of a trek through Birmingham, London, France, the Netherlands, Australia and Botswana as part of #MarchforGiants, a global digital campaign fighting against poaching.
One third of Africa’s elephants have already been lost, at an average rate of 55 killed a day.
From today the #MarchforGiants virtual herd of elephants will travel across social media platforms and digital billboards around the globe to raise awareness.
#MarchforGiants will begin at 4pm on 8 March in Manchester on The Printworks screen, opposite The Corn Exchange.
The herd will march on to Birmingham the next day, then London, Paris, Amsterdam and Melbourne, before ending in Botswana on 16 March at a key conservation summit being held to discuss their protection.
Joanna Lumley and Ricky Gervais have joined thousands adding their support.
Joanna Lumley said: “This year, March for Giants presents a one-of-a-kind opportunity for people everywhere to make their voice heard. It is a truly transformative moment for the conservation of Africa’s elephants and their habitats.”
Joanna Lumley said: “March for Giants presents a one-of-a-kind opportunity for people everywhere to make their voice heard. It is a truly transformative moment for the conservation of Africa’s elephants and their habitats.”
#MarchforGiants is a global procession of virtual elephants across digital billboards and social media. Anyone can join by donating £5 at www.marchforgiants.org or by texting GIANT plus your name to 70025. People can customise their elephant’s design before it joins the herd.
When the #MarchforGiants herd reaches the summit in Botswana they will help deliver an Avaaz petition, signed by more than a million people, demanding the EU close its legal ivory trade. African leaders present will add their names to that call at the Summit.
Donations to #MarchforGiants go to Space for Giants, an international conservation charity working across Africa to secure elephants and their territory forever in the face of poaching and habitat loss.
Max Graham, Space for Giants’ CEO, said: “There have been a number of huge gains in the fight to protect elephants. China and the US have banned trading in ivory. Poaching is back to pre-crisis levels in East Africa. This is all amazing, and we deserve to be celebrating.
“But there’s a danger here we could become complacent. Poaching is not over. Elephant habitats are not secure. The job is not finished. Joining the global movement that is the March for Giants is a way loudly to add your voice to thousands of others demanding we all keep the pressure up against poaching.
“Seeing that level of global support at their backs as they take the crucial next steps to secure elephant populations forever will be a huge encouragement to Africa’s leaders at the Summit.”