In a massive awareness campaign towards the worldwide elephant situation, the US is crushing 1 ton of ivory in New York’s Times Square.
This is an ingenious campaign, because it has the potential to inform people about several crucial aspects about the ivory market and the price that Africa pays in elephants in order to maintain it.
The obvious questions that come to mind upon hearing that 1 ton of ivory is being crushed in the middle of Times Square are “Why are they destroying the ivory?” and “How is is beneficial to do so?”. And it is precisely by answering these questions, that people can understand the present situation.
‘This is an illegal product and we feel that burning it or destroying it gets it out of commercial use and, therefore, there’s less of a chance for it to find its way into the marketplace,’, explains John Calvelli, a spokesperson of the Wildlife Conservation society.
This enormous public display is aimed to depict the possession of any type of ivory as being representative to the active drive of elephants into extinction. At the moment, official data point out that there are up to 35,000 elephants being killed annually, which means that as many as 96 elephants are being killed every single day.
At this rate, the elephants of the world could go extinct as soon as 10 years from now. It is inadmissible that we be the generation that drives the elephants into extinction with out greed and our inability to take action towards the mending of this situation.
Efforts are being made all throughout the world to stop elephant poaching. The scientific community is doing its part by closing down on poaching hotspots, so that law enforcement can be better directed towards the real source of the poaching. Therefore, there is hope that the illegal poaching activity can be restrained much more effectively in the future.
However, another essential aspect of this issue is the demand of ivory, that is vital to the poaching activity. Without significant demand, there would be no more poaching, because there would be no money being made out of it.
The complexity of this issue extends to those who are doing the poaching, because they are not the ones who are earning the most money in this industry. These people are usually poor and do these terrible things to keep their families alive. Most of the time, local war lords are implicated and they exploit the poor so that they can get rich.
But it is not even the war lords who are getting the best end of this deal. The biggest earnings are being made in the first world, as the ivory traders are those earning the most out of the entire amount.
But their success is also dependent on the demand of ivory. As long as people keep wanting to buy this blood-stained product, suppliers will meet this demand, regardless of the sacrifices that need to be made for this.
This is why New York is destroying 1 ton of ivory in Times Square. People need to know that this comes at a very high price and that the bottom line is whether or not we are willing to trade all the elephants for trinkets.
This massive symbol of the ban on ivory comes to remind New Yorkers of the law that was passed in August last year that forbids the ivory trade, under legal penalty. However this law still allows the trade of antique ivory. Therefore, this has been used as a loophole to sell illegal ivory, as it is very easy to apply a natural die to it and make is look old.
The entire amount of ivory that has been crushed in Times Square is confiscated ivory. Antique aficionados have been made aware that most of the ivory items they find are from the illegal market, in the hope that they might chose not to commercialize it henceforth.
Hopefully, the example set by New York will made a difference and people will understand the grave nature of the situation. If the ivory trade, along with all is many branches is not stopped in the near future, the world stands to lose its elephants for good.
Image Source: telegraph.co.uk