When Téa Megill learned during a trip to the Honolulu Zoo last summer that elephants may be headed toward extinction, the 10-year-old wanted to help.
She opened a neighborhood lemonade stand to raise money for the fight against poaching in Africa, in what at first seemed merely an admirable gesture.
But it has become much more than a gesture. The Honolulu sixth-grader has since been allowed to move her stand inside the zoo, where she also sells homemade bracelets and other items to conservation-minded visitors.
So far Téa has raised nearly $10,000, with all proceeds going to the Elephant Crisis Fund.
“We’re very proud of her,” Sejal Megill, Téa’s mother, told BNQT Outdoors. “We thought this going to be a summer project, but her drive and motivation have carried it so much farther. She would fundraise every day if she could.”
Téa has a website, Elephant.Ade, that operates under the slogan, “Aloha for the Elephants.” She runs the stand at the zoo’s Elephant Habitat each Wednesday afternoon. Products on the website are sold around the world.
“My goal is $1 million for the elephants and that they could be saved,” Téa told Hawaii’s KHON 2.
Africa’s elephants, to be sure, need help.
The Elephant Crisis Fund, part of the the Wildlife Conservation Network, states on its website that wild elephants could be wiped out within a generation.
More than 30,000 elephants are killed annually for their ivory tusks, which support a lucrative black-market industry. Meanwhile, an exhaustive effort involving multiple partners is combating poaching and trafficking.
Téa, a budding conservationist, can boast that she’s part of this effort.
At the zoo, she told KHON 2, she helps to raise awareness.
“I’ll start walking down that path or this path and I’ll start giving them brochures and talking to them about what’s going on with the elephants,” she said. “And then if they decide to come up, then we just explain what we’re selling and stuff.”
Téa recently told The Eden Edition that someday she’d like to visit Africa and see the wild elephants.
Wrote Shelby Eden, “With the determination of a young Jane Goodall, I have a feeling all of Téa’s dreams will undoubtedly come true.”