Charlotte S.

Letter to the President

Stopping the Ivory Trade

Charlotte Siroshton  Nov-3-2016

Dear Mr./Mrs. President, In order to ensure the elephants place in survival, we as humans need to quickly find a solution to protect these gentle giants. There is simply not enough laws and enforcement against illegal poaching and the trade of black market ivory. Without the elephants many people would lose their form of transportation, work, as would the planet Earth lose its sacred giant. If we don’t step up our game soon, endangered will transform into extinct. More security and stronger laws should be placed in order to preserve the elephants, particularly African elephants who are illegally murdered for their black market ivory.

Every day 100 elephants are killed for their tusks, Which are then produced into expensive ivory products such as ivory hair combs and ivory coat buttons. Both of which can easily be made from plastic and wood without harming an entire species. Although, 100 may not seem like a very high number, only 400,000 African elephants remain which gives humanity only four years in the company of these beauties, then they are gone from our lives forever, unless humanity makes a stance. There is already a ban on the international trade of ivory, but it has not been fully eliminated due to the black market ivory trade. Although it is illegal to poach an elephant for their ivory, it is legal to sell and buy it, which makes a market for people to illegally poach the elephant, make something from the poor creature’s tusk then legally sell the product for a high price.

So why should we care if the elephant is lost or not? In India, 80.5% of the population are Hindu and in Hinduism the elephant is considered sacred because they feel that the elephant is the living incarnation to the god, Ganesh. The elephant is still often used as transportation and helps get many jobs done in India. Elephants are also planet Earth’s largest land mammal, and have been roaming the world for a period of 55 million years. Of course, over those 55 million years they weren't always the elephants we know and love today, but rather creatures like the mammoth. It is sad to think that such an ancient giant could go, and rather than traveling to see them or introducing future kids to Earth’s prehistoric like creature, elephants would be swallowed away by time and lost forever. Let’s not forget to mention when the elephants are gone, so is the source of ivory. The businesses that have built themselves around the ivory trade will be quickly demolished, and will have to start again with some other product. Ivory trade is not a stable business and it simply does more harm than good. Possibly one of the major changes this keystone species will no longer be able to provide when they go extinct is food and water for other smaller species. Due to the elephants' size, when they roam the forests they knock down many trees, trample down big plants, and dispose of their grassy dung all over the forest floor. Although this may seem more disastrous than good, these actions are actually vital to many. By knocking down the trees and trampling big plants, they are making room and by disposing of their dung they are fertilizing, all of which is causing grasslands to be created. Grasslands are vital to animals such as the zebra. The elephants also dig holes in which they and other smaller animals drink from.

There are multiple actions that can be taken place in order to save both the Asian elephant and the African elephant. The most obvious ones for regular citizens is don’t buy ivory, don’t wear ivory, don’t sell ivory, even if it is an antique trinket carved out of pearly white ivory and the definition of beauty. Remember a life was taken in a gruesome way in order for it to exist. Sign petitions supporting more protection on the elephants. Donate to an elephant foundation such as the International Elephant Foundation, Elephant Care International, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, African Wildlife Foundation, or the Amboseli Elephant Research Project. Spread the word that elephants are in grave danger and if we don’t act soon, it will be too late. Much can be done by you on a bigger level as well. If a herd of elephants were to be sedated and their tusks all carefully removed, then that herd would be saved and there would be no reason for them to die. If there were stricter laws making it so there was a larger penalty for illegally poaching an elephant then more people would be discouraged in the black market trade. These penalties could include a large fine, serving time in jail, and a permanent mark on people’s records. Shipping searches would also greatly work in the elephants' favor. When the package is searched and the postal service finds ivory then they can trace the addresses to the seller and buyer to make an arrest.

This is why stronger security and laws should be placed in order to preserve the elephants and save India’s sacred god, provide transportation, work and Earth’s largest land giant. Particularly the African elephants who are highly endangered because of humanity's weird obsession with their tusks.