American Express Conservation Lecture 2014

On Wednesday 8th October, Tusk celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Tusk American Express Conservation Lecture. The talk, given by Peter Knights of WildAid, has been hailed as one of the best lectures that Tusk has hosted.

Peter showcased WildAid’s far-reaching campaign in China and elsewhere in Asia to change consumer behaviour on wildlife products. Their aim is to reduce the demand that is driving an international illegal wildlife trade worth up to $20 billion per year. Powerful and shocking imagery along with celebrity endorsement have produced staggering results.

Peter highlighted the organisation’s successful campaign against the consumption of shark fin soup, which has produced a striking reduction in its popularity and sales in China. The barbarity and criminality behind obtaining both rhino horn and elephant tusks also featured heavily, as did pangolins. Whilst also killed for their meat, endangered pangolins are also hunted for their scales that are simply made of keratin, the same substance as rhino horn and human fingernails and hair.

Drawing attention to the slaughter involved in obtaining these products, and the fact that they are not medicinal, is overcoming what has become one of today’s greatest conservation challenges.

Attendees were also able to get a glimpse of WildAid’s upcoming campaigns and short films soon to be released to further publicise the plight of wildlife. Tusk patron Kate Silverton kindly hosted a lively Q&A with Peter and the audience.

Tusk is hugely supportive of WildAid’s efforts and success in reaching and affecting the consumer markets. Tusk’s support of projects on the ground in Africa complements this strategy, and together, these efforts mean there is great hope for the future protection and preservation of Africa’s wildlife.

Several Tusk partners exhibited at the venue and provided a variety of exciting items for guests to purchase in aid of the Charity. These included Rosamond Lloyd's stunning bronze sculptures, the children's story book 'Chizi's Tale' by Jack Jones, and delightful handmade animal slippers by Hector & Queen. Tusk merchandise was also available, including Christmas cards for the festive season.

We are very grateful to all of our supporters, old and new, for attending and we hope you found the lecture informative and inspiring.  Thank you also to American Express for sponsoring the event for an incredible 20 years and to Painted Wolf Wines for continuing to provide the wine.

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