An elephant dies every 15 minutes. 9 years from now, at the current decline rate of 8% there will be only 150,000 elephants left in Africa. It is very possible that in our lifetime, we will see the extinction of this wonderful animal. (Source: The Ivory Game)
We recently watched The Ivory Game on Netflix, a hard-hitting documentary on the disgustingly ruthless ivory trade. It demonstrated the extreme dichotomy of human nature: the unimaginably cruel, savage and greedy ivory poachers and traders, versus the amazingly courageous, kind, and selfless activists and conservationists who put their lives in threat as they strive to expose the trade to protect elephants.
We had the privilege of spending a few days with rescued elephants courtesy of The Elephant Foundation in Chang Rai. They are magnificently beautiful, incredibly intelligent, and extraordinarily gentle animals. Known as “keynote species” they play a fundamental role in maintaining the balance of all other species in their ecosystem. Without them, this balance would collapse.
Unfortunately, despite the ban on ivory trade going back to 1989, the illegal trade of ivory remains a multi-million dollar industry. The Great Elephant Consensus (GEC) estimates that about 35,000 elephants are poached every year in Africa. The average elephant has 10 kilos of ivory on it; with the average price per kilo being $2100, each elephant is worth a minimum of $21,000. In Asia, ivory is called ‘white gold’, and China has the world’s largest illegal ivory trade market with an estimated stock of 1000 metric tonnes.
According to CNN, before the European colonization of Africa, the continent had about 20 million elephants. By 1979, there were only 1.3 million. Today, according to the GEC, there are only 352,271 left, expected to reduce by an alarming 50% over the next decade.
It is our moral responsibility to protect our environment, for the well-being of all species now, and in the future. The easiest way to start accepting this responsibility is by educating ourselves.
Watch The Ivory Game. It is a brilliant film which will hit you hard in many ways. Maybe it will inspire some ideas in you to #startwithsomething.
Take action. There are many ways you can get involved, details in this link.
On the same lines is the documentary Racing Extinction – you can read more about it here.
And read more on the illegal wildlife trade, here.