Posted by Philip Poole on 2014-09-21

By Emily Duval

Samford University’s Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences recently had the privilege of hosting African Wildlife Trust   (AWT) founder Pratik Patel who spoke about “Saving Africa’s Giants.”

Patel, founder and chairman of The African Wildlife Trust (AWT), is a third generation Tanzanian who grew up in the ecotourism business. He visited Samford as part of a U.S. tour to educate on the concept of “blood ivory” and promote a deeper understanding of the wildlife trafficking epidemic.

During the presentation Patel spoke about the disappearing elephant population as a global issue. The trafficking of wildlife is the fourth largest illegal trade in the world. Patel spoke about initiatives that the AWT is taking to save elephants. Along with raising awareness, the organization is pushing for a ban on ivory and closely monitors the elephant population.  

Patel encouraged students to take a stand for “Africa’s Giants,” stressing that they are the future of wildlife conservation. He addressed the important role that social media plays in raising awareness as a global issue and insisted that anyone can get involved.  

AWT was first founded to help stop poaching of elephants in Africa, but has grown to address wildlife conservation issues. Patel even consults for President Barack Obama on global conservation.  

Emily Duval is a journalism and mass communication major and a news and feature writer in the Office of Marketing and Communication.