The senseless demand for ivory must be stopped as the brutal and illegal killing of elephants is a massacre of unsustainable proportions due to the massive demand for ivory products in countries like China and Thailand. The presence of chinese businesses and entrepreneurs in Africa in particular are making the market connections to smuggle the ivory to the newly wealthy in China. The criminal operations involved are supported by corruption and overwhelmed authorities in elephant range states like Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
To gun down an elephant and hack off the tusks leaving a faceless mass which was moments ago a magnificent sentient creature for all to revere is totally unacceptable and all for greed. Elephants mourn their dead, are capable of suicide, have amazing memories, loving playful families and to die to become a trinket is an act that we as human beings can not condone.
No one needs an ivory ornament – you cannot eat it or save a life with it as a medicine and there are so many alternatives that do not cost the lives of the last great beasts on the planet.
Governments of China, Thailand, Gabon and Democratic Republic of Congo are the top priorities for action to provide the solution to this crisis. They need to step up to undertake a variety of actions ranging from stopping trafficking and sale of illegal ivory and protecting elephants by increasing enforcement and closing down the illegal markets that are driving poaching. Countries like Tanzania play a key role as a major transit point for illegal ivory shipments from Africa to Asia too.
In the United States we believe that these governments have a responsibility to the world on the political level to show that they can protect elephants. They have to fulfill their obligations under international and domestic laws and work together to support each other in combating the crisis stretching from the kill zones in Africa to the high class ivory stores in Beijing.