Wellington WI’s speaker at the group’s September meeting was Dr Kate Evans, founder and Director of ‘Elephants for Africa’, a charity committed to protecting the endangered African elephant through research and education.
Dr Evans spoke of her passion for elephants which began after a day spent at an elephant orphanage when she was a child. She started campaigning for elephants at the age of 10 at the height of the ivory crisis. As an adult, she set up Elephants for Africa to protect wildlife – in particular elephants – and to empower and inspire future conservation leaders.
Her research is based in Botswana, concentrating on male elephants as males are more likely to be killed for their ivory and to cause conflict with human neighbours. She explained conservation issues and the impact of the ivory trade, referring to the startling decline in the elephant population from 1.3 million in 1979 to only half a million today.
Dr Evans revealed the common features of elephants and people: young male elephants search for independence and knowledge, whilst young females stay with the herd; elephants form social bonds in their herd acknowledging death and experiencing grief.
Kate’s book, ‘Harmony for Elephants’, takes readers through the journey of an elephant’s life and aims to raise awareness and understanding.
Following Dr Evans’ talk reports from the flourishing WI interest groups were presented and members were informed about future events including theatre outings, Christmas meal, the county WI Carol Service in Wells Cathedral and the group’s 5-year anniversary in early 2018. Members were asked to collect shoeboxes and suitable gifts to put in them for the annual YMCA Shoebox Appeal to be assembled at the October meeting.
Responding to the adoption at the national WI AGM of a resolution to work towards the reduction of microplastic fibres leaching into seas, WI Secretary Rachel gave a short presentation which revealed that, by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish if steps aren’t taken to deal with the problem. The group pledged to look into ways in which the WI can play a part.
The next meeting will be on 19 October when marathon swimmer Beth French returns to share her experiences of her open-water challenge. Guests are very welcome at The Beambridge Inn at 7.00 pm for a 7.30 pm start.