Maria Coffey and Dag Goering

Elephant angels: Victoria couple devoted to protecting endangered animals

Elephants and Other Adventures takes place on Wednesday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Young Auditorium at Camosun College

A Victoria couple is aiming big. Their goal: protecting elephants, the world’s largest mammal, from being killed for their tusks.

Dag Goering and Maria Coffey are the husband-wife team behind the adventure travel company Hidden Places and the Elephant Earth Initiative. The couple hosts a multimedia presentation, Elephants and Other Adventures, at Camosun College on Wednesday (March 28).

Through their travels to South East Asia, Africa, and India, Goering (a trained veterinarian and photographer) and Coffey (an author) were inspired to help protect elephants in those regions. Elephants are used as tourist attractions and are too often killed for their ivory, Goering said.

The couple hopes their presentations will raise $6,000 to support an anti-poaching project in a mountainous area of Kenya known as the Kirisia Hills.

Elephant poaching has recently “sky-rocketed” in Kenya, Goering said. The number of elephants found killed with their tusks removed has “dramatically increased” in the past year throughout parts of eastern Africa, including Kenya.

When the couple was in Africa this January, they came upon the Kirisia Hills — a sanctuary for elephants, Goering said. However, the elephants were not safe.

“The surrounding communities around this mountainous area are banding together to prevent poaching and to help preserve the forest and to stop forest fires,” Goering said.

Goering and Coffey have committed to funding the project and its 12 employees for the first year.

“In order to keep places wild, to keep magnificent animals like elephants in this world, we have to pitch in together and work with local people to bring that about,” Goering said.

However, protecting the elephants is only one of their goals. Many of the locals live pastoral lives and rely on the mountains for the survival of their livestock.

“We’re not only protecting elephants and helping with their survival but this area is also hugely important for all the surrounding local people,” Goering explained. “By securing that area we’re also securing their survival and their hugely important water source.”

The multimedia presentation features stories of journeys into the world of elephants, Goering said, and the people they’ve met along the way.

The presentation takes place on Wednesday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Young Building (Gibson Auditorium) at Camosun College, located at 3100 Foul Bay Road.

Admission to the event is by donation.

Due to graphic images, the presentation isn’t suggested viewing for children under the age of 12.

For more information, visit hiddenplaces.net or elephantearth.org.

reporter@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Saanich councillor slams McKenzie Interchange Project

Coun. Judy Brownoff said the project will only create more greenhouses gases and traffic

40 BC authors collaborate on new book celebrating the islands of the Salish Sea

Ivan Watson Special to the News Marion Cumming’s hilltop property near McNeil… Continue reading

Fairfield plan ‘counterintuitive’ to affordability aims, says working group member

Plan for Victoria neighbourhood heads to public hearing Sept. 12

PHOTOS: Check out the bells and whistles added to Westhills Stadium

Rick Stiebel/News Staff Clusters of tradespeople buzzing around busy with last-minute preparations… Continue reading

‘Listen to your body:’ Saanich woman fights to have breast implants removed

Woman struggles to find doctor to remove Allergan textured implants, recently linked to rare cancer

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Most Read