Tulsa conservationist Phillip Hathaway recently founded his own public charity, Elephant Rescue, in an attempt to help elephants worldwide.
“100 percent of all donations belong to the elephants,” the website states. “And so, to avoid overhead expenses, we do not have offices; we work from home. Indeed, we presently are working without salaries or any other form of compensation and without expense accounts.”
As the sole staff member of his charity’s website elephantrescue.net, Hathaway has managed to raise $2,000 so far.
“It’s been said the divine gifts are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control. Anyone who has spent time with elephants know [sic] they possess more of these qualities than humans,” Hathaway states on the website. “This is why I was so terribly troubled when I discovered that 30,000 to 50,000 of them were being literally butchered alive in the most heinous fashion for their tusks each year.”
Hathaway, a self-described pacifist, served in the military after studying at Oklahoma City University and the University of Kent in Canterbury, England; holding Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in social sciences. He was shocked to discover the treatment of elephants by poachers.
“In one well documented case, several families of elephants sought safety in a herd which grew to over 300,” Hathaway wrote on his website. “But they were ambushed by poachers on horseback wielding machine guns and hand grenades. All of them — even the little babies — were unmercifully slaughtered. After learning of this, I was unable to sleep at night.”
Hathaway is determined not only to help elephants in the wild, but also domesticated elephants.
“As long as elephants are hunted, poached, exploited for money, used for entertainment, enslaved in circuses or held prisoners in zoos, we will work to protect them,” the website states.
In an interview with Tulsa People earlier this month, Hathaway explained that he feels China has contributed to the plight of the elephant.
“China has 20 percent of the world’s population but only 7 percent of the arable land. So, they must import raw material, and they’ve quite literally colonized Africa for this purpose (they barter mining, oil drilling and highway and infrastructure work in Africa for raw material). This gives them a feeling that they can take what they want, including elephant tusks,” he said. “To stop the killing, it is essential to destroy all stockpiles of ivory immediately for they always go to market, which in turn, drives demand and more killing.”
Part of Hathaway’s plan to save elephants involves working with the government in Botswana.“We will support Botswana through reforestation, water conservation, herd management and other ways” he explained to Tulsa People. “From Botswana, our work will spread to elephant ranges in other countries. We also hope to manage and purchase land bordering elephant ranges to control unprecedented human encroachment.”
Anyone looking to contribute to Hathaway’s cause can visit elephantrescue.net, where Hathaway explains how to make a tax-deductible donation. Visitors can also purchase Elephant Rescue t-shirts. Hathaway hopes to sell at least 50 of each design, however, he has not sold any so far.