I fear our world won’t regard the lives of animals with emphasis, or urgency, until we’ve realized the equality of mankind entirely.
-Bobby Myers, 23 June 2016
For many of you it is common knowledge that I am an avid supporter of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Some years ago, I learned of an organization that rescues, rehabilitates and reintroduces elephant orphans – many of whom were orphaned by poachers – into the wild. This organization is the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, located just outside of Nairobi, Kenya.
My first exposure to the Trust came with the 2011 documentary film Born to Be Wild. From the moment I observed the work the Trust did, I knew I wanted to have an association – and I have ever since. Presently, I help foster two elephants: Rorogoi and Ndotto.
This is wonderful, however, in light of recent events – an egregious human rights violation – I felt an open letter to Dame Daphne Sheldrick was in order. Feel free to read the handwritten message – or continue scrolling to read the full transcript.
TRANSCRIPT OF “DEAR DAME DAPHNE”
23 June 2016
Dear Dame Daphne,
I am writing to create a dialogue about a troubling human rights situation in Kenya. In mid-June, a Mombasa High Court upheld the use of anal examination to determine an individual’s sexual orientation. Those individuals, should they be “convicted” of homosexuality, face up to fourteen years imprisonment – an egregious violation of human rights.
Such oppression is driven by fear and hate, and the practice of the examinations has been condemned by the international and scientific communities. As a supporter of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, I feel compelled to share my concerns with you on this critical matter.
The cause of the Trust is near to my heart, and I consider it an honor to be part of the reintroduction process for both Rorogoi and Ndotto. The monthly updates and keeper notes provide me with joy, but it does weigh heavy on my mind that I am [indirectly] contributing – through the Trust’s local commerce – to an economy that supports an intolerant and oppressive government.
Worse, it weighs heavy on my heart to consider a future in which Rorogoi or Ndotto have been poached, and their murderer faces less prosecution and punishment – if any at all – than two people on paths of self-discovery and love. I ask you to stand with me, against dehumanization and torture for biological impulse. I fear our world won’t regard the lives of animals with emphasis, or urgency, until we’ve realized the equality of mankind entirely.
Our shared passion for elephants and our efforts to ensure their future demonstrate our commitment to life. We know that each individual is essential – necessary to its ecosystem – and that our lives are no greater, yet no less significant. The way forward, I believe, is to affirm value in all life through the promotion of equality.
Please, join me by standing in opposition to the Mombasa Court’s ruling.
Foster friend of Rorogoi and Ndotto
Please, stand with me – alongside the oppressed members of Kenya’s LGBT community. Share this – and together, let’s make a difference.