Ivory poaching poses an incredible threat to the future existence of the elephant species. In the past century alone, this cruel and violent practice has caused the elephant population in Africa to decline by 95 percent, a shocking number that is set to increase if the United States does not act quickly to enact new rules restricting the ivory trade.
While the fight for the future of elephants has been taken up by many activists and organizations, most recently Matt Sorum, the incredible drummer from Gun N’ Roses has joined the cause, teaming up with the IFAW and penning an open letter encouraging musicians to support the cause.
Many musical instruments contain ivory and in the past this has presented a dilemma for musicians who were not allowed to travel into the U.S. with instruments containing ivory that was purchased after 1976. This has stirred up a lot of opposition from orchestras and other musical organizations that see this as a threat to their livelihood.
However, revised regulations would allow for musicians to travel with their instruments as long as they have proper documentation and do not sell their instruments without first removing the ivory.
In his letter Sorum writes, “The steady beat of a drum reminds me of elephants marching through the African savanna. Now imagine silence. That is all the music we’ll hear if the African elephant is forced into extinction.”
The issue of ivory poaching is much larger than any individual who is concerned about the difficulties of traveling with an instrument that contains ivory. While this may seem as an inconvenience in the short-term, the long-term consequence of not pushing through stricter regulations is extinction.
As Sorum so eloquently puts, “We need to be part of the solution not the problem. As much as we all love our instruments, they are in the end just things–not worth contributing to the demise of a species.”
And who ever said rockstars can’t make great role models? You can join Sorum in supporting the IFAW’s work to ensure that President Obama takes a strong stand for elephants and takes the U.S. off the ivory market. Rock on, Matt Sorum.
Image source: IFAW