Is it the same for everyone now when they hear a sentence with the word ‘ivory’ in it? Does everyone get that feeling? The slightly panicked feeling that we are at the end of yet another year and still the numbers of poached elephants grows.
I suspect not everyone feels exactly the same when they hear the latest statistics. An elephant is poached every 15 minutes. Over 30,000 elephants are killed by poachers each year. Elephants in the wild could face extinction within 11 years. For some it must be horror. Others may think “oh for goodness sake, spare us the melodrama”. Others maybe ask “Really, is it that serious?”
I think the situation is a little different in South Africa; but on the rest of the continent those who do the killing usually do not get to see the statistics because they are often poor people living in the bush with no access to television, internet or news in any sustained way.
The only way they, those poachers, know there is a crisis is when they can’t find the elephants to kill. In some of the less well known areas we can say with honesty that less elephants were killed in the past six months than the previous six months.
The reason for this is that there are no longer the elephants to find and kill.
We have a tendency to blame the middleman, the transporter, the recipient and the Chinese. But there is another aspect to the demise of our elephants and this video clip, ‘Last Days’, makes it very clear – the funding of terror. Here there is an intersection where two unspeakable horrors meet – terrorism and ivory poaching.
Investigations have uncovered that African terrorist groups such as al-Shabaab, The Lord’s Resistance Army, Boko Haram and Janjaweed use the sale of illegal ivory to carry out attacks. Trafficking in endangered species has become the fourth largest illegal business in the world after drugs, weapons and humans.
‘Last Days’ began as a film by award-winning filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow (‘Zero Dark Thirty’, ‘The Hurt Locker’)…and grew into a cause to inform and educate people of both the holistic and urgent problem of the illegal ivory trade. The problem is so urgent that the filmmakers decided to make this short video rather than a feature film which “would likely take years during which more elephants would die”.
The film makes deliberate use of animation to give it a broader audience, and “besides, the Internet is filled with graphic images of slaughtered elephants and yet the killing continues. Our desire was to help the viewer focus on the trail of money as well as the trail of blood – a relationship that Interpol and other groups unequivocally confirm.”
But most important is that this video by Wildaid and Annapurna Pictures offers us options for action. There are things we can do.
The video is short and to the point. Only three and a half minutes in fact. Please watch it, and share it.
And visit the site at www.lastdaysofivory.com for more details on how each of us can actively make these be the last days of ivory poaching.
Watch Video: Last Days Film
“Either we come together now to make these the last days of ivory-funded terrorism or we witness the last days of elephants in the wild.”