MINNEAPOLIS, August 4, 2008 — Imagine Africa without elephants. That could happen, soon, if poaching goes unchecked. More than 25,000 elephants were illegally killed in 2007 alone, mostly to feed the insatiable appetite of ivory markets in the Far East. But aviation is rising to this challenge, and is making an important contribution to the survival of the gentle giants. Patty Wagstaff is helping to make this possible.
For the past six years, Patty Wagstaff
“Working with the Kenya Wildlife Service Air Wing has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” said Patty Wagstaff. “Their excellent pilots appreciate the need for recurrent and aerobatic training and believe, as I do, that aerobatic lessons make all pilots more skillful, more confident and safer aviators, and gives them better tools to be able to combat elephant and rhino poaching in Kenya.”
At the EAA AirVenture Airshow in Oshkosh, Wisc., Lindbergh Foundation President Knox Bridges announced its new partnership with Patty Wagstaff/Kenya Wildlife Service Africa Project. “The work Patty is doing is in perfect harmony with the Foundation’s mission of balancing technology and the environment,” said Bridges. “Anti-poaching pilots need to fly low, slow and with precision, so who better to teach them those techniques than Patty Wagstaff.”
The Lindbergh Foundation will serve as the financial trustee for any donations made to the Patty Wagstaff/Kenya Wildlife Service project. Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to the Lindbergh Foundation at 2150 Third Avenue North, Suite 310, Anoka, MN 55303, or made on-line at www.lindberghfoundation.org. Donors should make sure to designate their support of the Patty Wagstaff/KWS project on their checks.
“Partnering with the Lindbergh Foundation is such a perfect fit for this program because the mission is essentially the same,” Wagstaff said. “The Kenya Wildlife Service uses the technology of airplanes to help save elephant populations from poaching, which helps keep the planet in balance.”
The Lindbergh Foundation is keenly aware of the problem of elephant poaching. In fact, with support from the Cherbec Advancement Foundation, the Foundation funded a Lindbergh Grant project in 2007 dedicated to the reduction of poaching of forest elephants in Gabon using acoustics, which may prove better than aerial surveys in this case due to the dense forest cover. Dr. Peter Wrege www.lindberghfoundation.org/grants/2007-funded-grants/wrege.html> of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is conducting the study, which should be concluded later this year.
Pilot Training in 2009 is Enhanced by John and Martha King
Film documents the training of 12 Kenya Wildlife Service pilots.
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