Have you ever seen an ivory trinket? Perhaps you’ve come across a piece of jewelry made out of ivory, or maybe you’ve played on some ivory piano keys … well, that ivory only got there one way: an elephant had to be killed. In fact, every day, 100 elephants are poached for their ivory. One hundred precious, valuable, and unique lives are senselessly murdered for a lucrative ivory trade.
When looking at the image below, we must remember that these tusks did not appear out of thin air. They were attached to a living, breathing being. Every single tusk was savagely ripped from an elephant’s face. Remember that.
The tusks in these piles are being prepared for burning so they will not continue to fuel the illegal ivory trade. Dr. Lucy King of Save the Elephants wrote on Facebook, “Over 100 tonnes of Ivory being piled up to be burnt next weekend to take them out of the market. So many adjectives to describe a scene like this: tragic, inspiring, relief, sadness, waste, death, funeral pyre, finality…they were worth more to us alive…”
And that’s exactly the problem. The ivory trade is incredibly profitable, driving poachers to stop at nothing to steal the tusks of these animals, without any regard for the fact that they may very well be extinct in the next 10 years if this does not stop. Thanks to human interference, the African elephant population has been cut in half since the 1970s, coming in at between 35,000–50,000 African elephants poached per year. To make matters worse, this illegal trade is fraught with corruption and often profits benefit dangerous terrorist groups.
With each tusk, we should remember the vast, incredible lives of individual elephants, who roamed freely, who felt deeply, and loved their family endlessly. In the wild, these animals live in matriarchal herds, with grandmothers, daughters, granddaughters, aunts, nieces, and cousins, all sharing each other’s company for decades. In these piles, we can image the grief brought to families by this ruthless industry.
The future of this magnificent species is at stake. We must do more than take this image to heart; we must take action.
Let’s honor the lives of these incredible beings by making sure their grandchildren will not meet the same fate. Here’s what you can do:
The best thing you can do to help end the wildlife trade is to stop purchasing wild animal products. Every ivory trinket was created from an elephant that was killed. By spreading awareness about the plight of elephants and all of world’s endangered wildlife, we can help people see the consequences of their actions. Share this post and help save these amazing animals while they’re still here.
Image Source: Save the Elephants/Facebook