ties that bind

In a cam­paign that transcends fash­ion, Tif­fany & Co joins the fight against ele­phant poach­ing, Melissa Twigg writes

Indonesia Tatler - - Style -

Tif­fany and Co. joins the fight against ele­phant poach­ing

his is a par­tic­u­larly pre­car­i­ous time for the African ele­phant be­cause of in­sa­tiable de­mand for ivory. Poach­ing fig­ures across the con­ti­nent con­tinue to out­pace natural pop­u­la­tion growth, and if the sit­u­a­tion isn’t re­versed within the next two decades, ele­phants may no longer ex­ist in the wild. Some coun­tries, such as South Africa and Botswana, have made strong com­mit­ments to con­ser­va­tion with gov­ern­ment-led anti-poach­ing units. In poorer re­gions, how­ever, such as the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo and Zim­babwe, there are no na­tional bud­gets for animal wel­fare, so non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions play a vi­tal role in fight­ing for the fu­ture of the ele­phant—and they need financial help to sus­tain their work.

Step in Tif­fany & Co. To help save the world’s largest land mam­mal, the New York­based jew­ellery brand has de­vel­oped the Knot On My Planet cam­paign. Cre­ated in

part­ner­ship with the Ele­phant Cri­sis Fund (ECF), the cam­paign aims to raise aware­ness about the dev­as­tat­ing im­pact on the ele­phant of the de­mand for ivory. It is in­spired by the idea that ele­phants never for­get, ask­ing peo­ple to never for­get the pachy­derm by do­nat­ing to the Ecf—and by shar­ing a photo of them­selves on so­cial me­dia sym­bol­i­cally ty­ing a knot with the tag #Kno­ton­my­planet.

Bri­tish-born con­ser­va­tion­ist Iain Dou­glasHamil­ton, the founder of one of the two or­gan­i­sa­tions be­hind the ECF, Save the Ele­phants, has spo­ken at a num­ber of Tif­fanyspon­sored events about how ele­phant poach­ing is a tick­ing time bomb that needs to be ad­dressed ur­gently.

“We [Save the Ele­phants] started a cam­paign back then [in the 1970s] to sen­si­tise peo­ple to the ter­ri­ble things that the ivory trade was do­ing, and it had a huge ef­fect to turn peo­ple against ivory,” says Douglas-hamil­ton, who has ded­i­cated his life to study­ing ele­phants. That work even­tu­ally re­sulted in a ban on the trad­ing of ivory which brought about a cease­fire of sorts, but more re­cently “the grow­ing abil­ity of peo­ple to buy lux­ury items like ivory with lit­tle aware­ness of the con­se­quences for the natural world” has seen a re­ver­sal of for­tunes. “So a large part of what we’ve tried to do in the last 10 years has been to share our aware­ness with peo­ple about the con­se­quences of buy­ing ivory: that it ac­tu­ally de­stroys ele­phants and ele­phant lives.”

The Tif­fany-spon­sored events ad­dressed by Douglas-hamil­ton, who has lived most of his life in South Africa and Kenya, are also at­tended by a range of in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned celebri­ties who pro­mote Knot On My Planet on their hugely in­flu­en­tial so­cial me­dia plat­forms. The cam­paign fea­tures mod­els such as Linda Evan­ge­lista, Doutzen Kroes, Christy Turling­ton Burns and Naomi Camp­bell ty­ing a knot to never for­get ele­phants. “The Knot On My Planet cam­paign is un­like any other that I have been a part of; it has pas­sion and pur­pose,” says Kroes. “As a mother, I don’t want my chil­dren to live in a world with­out ele­phants, and as a model, I knew that we could rally the fash­ion com­mu­nity to save the ele­phants at a time when they need it the most.” Kroes, along with Cara Delev­ingne and Natalia Vo­di­anova, at­tended a Tif­fany & Co Save the Ele­phants party at Kens­ing­ton Palace in Lon­don in June to raise aware­ness about the cause. She wore a lim­ited edition Tif­fany Save The Wild pavé di­a­mond ele­phant brooch. An­other pachy­derm-re­lated piece by Tif­fany and Co, whose de­sign­ers are fre­quently in­spired by the animal world, is the Sch­lum­berger ele­phant clip, which Kroes has worn on pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions.

But, ul­ti­mately, this is a cam­paign that transcends fash­ion. As any­one who has been on sa­fari in Africa knows, ele­phants are wise, play­ful, lov­ing crea­tures, with fierce tem­pers and pow­er­ful mem­o­ries. And if we don’t fight to save them now, we will mourn them ter­ri­bly once they are ex­tinct. Or, as Douglas-hamil­ton says, “Ele­phants can­not be man­u­fac­tured. Once they’re gone, they can­not be re­placed.”

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