What You Should Know About Elephants at Risk

Ivory Trade Funds Terror, Drugs and Guns

It’s no surprise that elephants of all sizes — not just the few remaining tuskers like Satao — are targets. According to a report by Born Free USA and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, populations of elephants are under siege in several parts of Africa, and poaching is connected to terrorism, drug cartels, militias, the military and government officials. The tusks from just one normal-size elephant can total 22 pounds of ivory, worth roughly $30,000.

What Can You Do?

It’s sometimes difficult to imagine what good we can do to help animals thousands of miles away. We may not be able to assist in the arrest of alleged terror kingpins in far-off countries, but here are some things you can do.

1. Before donating money, know the policies of any wildlife or elephant conservation organizations you are giving to. Some organizations oppose illegal ivory sales but still support limited trophy hunting or dedicate only a small portion of their donations to local programs. Your best option may be to donate to organizations working onsite in Africa to help elephants, such as Wildlife Direct, Save the Elephants and The Tsavo Trust.

2. Be vigilant for ivory when shopping. If you suspect that ivory is being sold at an art show, flea market or other such venue, contact your local U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service office;if you are traveling, contact local authorities. Don’t buy ivory of any kind, even antique ivory.

3. Encourage legislators to vote for laws that protect elephants and other animals. Two states, New York and New Jersey, recently passed legislation to prohibit ivory trade and hopefully more will follow. To receive action alerts through which you can become more informed and contact your elected officials and other policymakers, sign up with The Humane Society of the United States or Animal Welfare Institute.

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