Every 15 minutes, an elephant is killed.
Every 15 minutes, a baby elephant is orphaned.
Every 15 minutes, the web of life is reduced.
It’s currently threatening global security, human rights, allowing ruthless people to become rich off of an endangered species.
And it’s all for their ivory.
We are becoming a ruthless species driven by greed causing Earth’s heart to bleed. Elephants have been revered all over the world for centuries. They are admired for their intelligence, soulful mourning for the dead, and incredible nurturing abilities.
On a broader scale, they are intrinsically important to the web of life in maintaining environmental balance and health.
Their dung carries seeds of life-creating forests, which will birth habitats for other creatures, including humans, who live with them in shared places.
Yet elephants are disappearing before we are able to fully understand their significance. They deserve protection because they are inherently valuable as beings. Their destruction is frightening in that we really have no idea how habitats could be affected…flora and fauna both.
Sadly, it will be too late before we find out. And if the consequences are dire, we will never recover.
The loss of any species endangers and depletes us all. Much of the problem is simply a lack of understanding; many people don’t know that ivory comes from murdered elephants. They think it’s just an elephant losing a tooth that can grow back.
How do we educate those who might care if they knew that elephants were killed in order to make a beautiful carving or piece of jewelry? How do we help people learn that in buying ivory they are supporting the same criminal networks, cartels and militias that are driving genocides, terrorism and are being exploited to make wealthy global criminals? The same criminals whose actions kill so many people and condemn the most vulnerable people to increasing levels of poverty, violence and desperation.
Education for those who are naive could turn ignorance into alliances to protect these amazing and essential gardeners who, by their very existence, create a foundation of health for our biosphere.
A profound example of our cognitive and spiritual interconnectedness is when the heart of author and conservationist Lawrence Anthony stopped beating causing those of hundreds of elephants to break. On March 2, 2012, two herds of elephants walked 12 hours to visit Anthony’s compound in KwaZulu South Africa. For two days, the elephants paid their respects to the man the loved, the man who saved their lives.
The deed goes both ways. For centuries elephants have led man to water in the African plains, yet today, they are running for their lives, as well as yearning for love and affection.
In Africa, an elephant is slaughtered. In Asia, the vast majority of captive Asian elephants chained up, isolated, and forbidden to even touch each other.
Aristotle once said, “Elephants were the animals which surpass all others in wit and mind.”
It is my hope these magnificent beings will be not only around for the next generation to concur, but live lives with love and affection with appropriate welfare conditions.
As a man’s heart stops, the hearts of hundreds of elephants break…but once the last elephant’s heart stops, the Earth’s may be broken forever.
What are you going to tell your child who looks at you in fifteen years and says “Why didn’t you do something?”
I invite you to join me in saying no to the ivory trade and saying yes to the protection of the elephant species.
This Friday, June 19, the US Fish and Wildlife Service will be hosting an ivory crush in Times Square, NYC to send a message to the world.
By destroying these stockpiles of ivory, we prevent them from getting into the hands of people that can profit from it. But until we stop the demand abroad and at home, more hearts will be broken.
Dr. Scarlett Magda