Campaigners dressed as elephants and rhinos marched through Manchester city centre this afternoon as part of a last ditch effort to tell the world that elephants and rhinos could be on the verge of extinction unless the cruel trade in ivory and rhino horns is stopped once and for all.
The Manchester march was part of the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos which took place in many cities internationally, coinciding with the United Nations CoP17 (the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties), the world's largest and most influential meeting on international wildlife trade, taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa.
"We want the delegates to make a stand for us because we feel like this is probably the last chance we're going to have to put rules and regulations in place to stop this trade" explained organiser Tiffani Lewsley, who works as a vision mixer at Media City in Salford.
"If it doesn't happen now, probably by the next time we get an opportunity it will be too late and the populations will have decreased so much that we won't be able to make a difference any more" she reflected "So we have to really put the pressure on internationally to try and get this crisis sorted out. It's got to start now because we're losing four rhinos a day, 96 elephants a day, and it can't continue at that rate; it's unsustainable.
"The ivory and horn trade has got to stop and people have got to be made aware that, if you get yourself an elephant tusk you've had to kill an elephant for it, and that rhinos are being butchered to get their horns. We've got to get that message across. I'm really pleased with the turnout today, we've got a lot of impassioned people here; they really care and it's awesome..."
As city shoppers smiled at the `elephant' in a pink tutu that danced in front of the march and people with rhino heads and elephant ears who chanted, behind the colourful demonstration was a very serious message. This was the Manchester March Against Extinction.
To sign the petition to the Government to shut down the UK ivory market - click here
For further information see www.march4elephantsandrhinos.org/