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It’s always fun to Skype with the charismatic Sir Richard Branson, especially in the exotic, yet preppy vaulted rooms of The Explorer’s Club—but things turned serious with Peggy Siegal’s special screening of National Geographic’s Battle for the Elephants, writer/producer/director John Heminway’s eye-opening, in-depth investigation into the slaughter of African elephants in the wild (their numbers are plummeting in shocking numbers: 70 elephants are being killed every day) for their tusks which are illegally exported to mostly China and turned into luxury ivory “objets d’art” that are coveted by middle class Chinese consumers like the latest designer handbag. The room was packed: Tommy Hilfiger and Dee Ocleppo, Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti, Terry McDonnell, Sharon Bush, Amanda Hearst, Rachel Roy, photographer Ben Watts, Suno designer Max Osterweis, James Niven, Dree Hemingway, Lauren Bush Lauren (with her FEED bag in tow), Kate Schelter (who told SCENE her mother was a member of The Explorer’s Club. “She climbed Kilimanjaro,” Schelter mentioned), David and Julia Koch (who helped fund the film), Krista Krieger of the Africa Foundation and actress Kristen Davis, who spoke after the film on a panel alongside Hemingway, elephant conservation activist Richard Leaky and reporter Bryan Christy who headlines this must-see documentary. Davis broke down in tears when she first started to speak, recounting a trip to Africa where she encountered an orphaned baby elephant who’s mother had been murdered for her tusks. “You’re all influential people,” Davis told the room. “You can make a difference. The idea that elephants in the wild could be extinct in ten years is just not acceptable.” Saving elephants, one of the planet’s smartest and most sensitive creatures, in the wild is a cause close to many celebrities. Leonardo DiCaprio recently announced he is taking a hiatus from movies to devote his star power and energy to conserving wildlife, like elephants and other endangered species such as rhinos.
To get involved, go to: http://www.savetheelephants.org