Taegen Yardley is only 13-years-old, but she’s already been to the United Nations, spoken at the Vermont Statehouse, and organized rallies to fight for endangered African elephants.
In the 1930s, 3-5 million elephants roamed Africa. Today, there are 350,000. The largest factor in this decline is poaching promoted by the illegal ivory trade. Elephant poaching is nothing short of an international crisis. For decades, elephants have faced the looming threat of extinction as tusks are savagely ripped from their faces to satisfy the global demand for ivory. This illegal trade is fraught with corruption on every level, and profits benefit dangerous terrorist groups. Demand for ivory is so high that an estimated 100 elephants are killed for their tusks each day. At this rate, African elephants may be completely extinct within 10 years.
To help ensure that elephants are still around when she grows up, Yardley has been fiercely pushing for an ivory ban in her home state of Vermont. Bill H-297 has passed in the House and is now in committee in the Senate. To make an even bigger impact, the teen joined the International Elephant Film Festival this year and produced a 12-minute video with her social studies teacher, Mark Cline Lucey. The video has already garnered 35,000 views on Facebook and has been shared by people from the U.S. Ambassador to Gabon to the World Wildlife Fund to actress and elephant advocate Kristin Davis.
This young teen’s words are a strong reminder that if we do not act now on behalf of elephants, these complex, gentle, intelligent animals will continue to see their families torn apart and killed for trinkets. The future of elephants is at stake and we must act now. Click here to learn how you can be a hero for elephants and learn more about Yardley’s work by visiting the A World With Elephants Facebook page.
Image source: A World With Elephants/ Facebook