green living

African Elephants could be Extinct in 12 Years

Dear elephants; roving giants of the planes, largest land mammals with the longest memories, we love you. In my youth, the dangers of the ivory trade were laid bare and poachers were killing 100 000 of our Proboscidean pals annually. Luckily, outrage ensued and the ivory trade ground to a passable crawl. The herds that had once been near devastation showed promising signs of recovery and I watched in fascination as countries set their stockpiles of tusks ablaze.

Sadly, a renewed fascination with ivory, particularly by countries in the Far East, has seen such a drastic resurgence in trade, that the denizens of Africa are once more threatened by extinction. THIS BOTHERS ME and I am deeply, profoundly pissed off.

Threat of extinction

While elephants, and their ancient cousins the mammoths and mastodons, have roamed the earth for more than 50 million years, they may have just a little over a decade to be chased down and mercilessly slaughtered for something as ridiculous as an enlarged tooth.

Conservationist Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick speaks about the fact that, every 15 minutes in Africa, an elephant is killed for its tusks which are used to make trinkets for markets in the Far East. On National Elephant day she had this to say: “Today is World Elephant Day but in 12 years’ time there may not be any elephants left in Africa to celebrate. A world without elephants is hard to comprehend, but it is a real possibility. Against a submachine gun or poacher armed with a spear, they stand little chance.”

What can we do?

Don’t buy ivory. Ever. For any reason. If you have misguided ideas that ivory-based medication will cure an ailment or make you a more virile lover… stop that right now. You are an educated and intelligent person—you’re much better than that.

Adopt an elephant with the Wold Wildlife Fund: Staring at $55, your elephant adoption kit comes with an elephant plush toy and a bag of goodies.

Donate to Save the Elephants fund to help protect the elephants and stop trafficking.

Donate to the Clinton Global Initiative to help save Africa’s elephants.

Sign a petition to institute a global ban on ivory.

I grew up in Africa, and while I understand that it’s hard to be sympathetic about something that doesn’t roam the streets of downtown New York, these majestic beasts are worth saving. And if we can mobilize hundreds of thousands of troops to fight a war a million miles away, we can utilize the resources we need to ensure that not one elephant, not one, has to suffer such a terrible fate again. We can really do this; it’s a very attainable goal, but unless we out all of our considerable energy behind this cause, these beautiful creatures will be lost to us forever.

Just think about a world where elephants no longer exist. That’s not a world I want to live in – what about you?

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Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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