If you didn’t manage to bag a bargain on Black Friday or Cyber Saturday, don’t sweat it. Here’s an altogether more thoughtful gift idea because let’s face it, none of us really need a new 50″ TV, the new iPhone 8 or any other gadget that will only serve to contribute to the world’s waste problems. 

Asking you to part with your hard-earned cash this year and, accompanied by what has to be one of the most heartbreaking Christmas ad campaigns I’ve seen in a while (and there have been a few), conservation charity The World Wildlife Fund brings you #JustLikeUs

This incredibly moving, one minute film focuses on the illegal wildlife trade and in particular, elephants. As grazers and browsers, who eat large amounts of vegetation every day, elephants play an important role in maintaining their habitat and in turn, help to shape the landscapes they live in. Elephants also feel a range of complex emotions so, ‘just like us’, feel immeasurable loss when they witness one of their herd being hunted down by poachers for their tusks, skin, and meat. So Theresa May, ponder that one when you vote that ‘animals can’t feel pain or emotion’. According to the WWF, around 55 African elephants are killed a day; that’s 20,000 every year, which is more than the number being born (you can do the math on what that means for the long-term survival of the species 🙁 )

Why is the slaughter still happening?

The illegal ivory trade is at its highest level for 20 years! Did you know that the UK is the world’s largest ‘legal’ ivory exporter, which has been fuelling global demand for both legal and illegal ivory!? Whilst a ban on the international commercial trade of African ivory was introduced way back in 1989, there are way too many loopholes in the ban – ivory is still allowed to be sold in domestic markets for example and, can be moved between countries as “personal effects” for non-commercial purposes, which includes those moronic trophy hunters who bring home the spoils of their ‘hunting expeditions’.

So, what’s being done to protect these beautiful beasts?

Whilst there are a number of conservation organisations and governments on the ground working tirelessly to find long-term solutions to the illegal wildlife trade, the problem is still very real. The WWF helps to protect habitats and improve connections between fragmented areas where elephants live. They also work with governments and local communities to reduce conflict between people and elephants and, play a key role in influencing policy and legislation that will benefit elephant conservation. They also work closely with TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, to help train law enforcement agencies and lobby governments to improve laws on wildlife crime, including the illegal elephant trade.

How can adopting an elephant support this work?

If you do decide to adopt an elephant for someone this year (instead of purchasing something they don’t really need/want :-0), the money you donate to the WWF will help them with all of the above and, if elephants aren’t your favourite animal, check out their website for a whole bunch of other gorgeous but sadly endangered animals that you can adopt and, receive regular updates on their progress. Click here for more info 🙂

OK, so I might still be buying the odd gift or two but, like last year, I will also be putting a little of my Christmas money where my mindless consumerist mouth is and donating to the WWF because, every little bit helps, right?

Thanks for reading…