Target: Daniel M. Ashe, Director of US Fish and Wildlife Service
Goal: Commend the United States for sending a zero tolerance message about the illegal wildlife trade.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service will destroy six tons of illegal elephant ivory that has been stockpiled since the 1980’s, as a message to the organizations responsible for the poaching of elephants, rhinos and other creatures in Africa. Members of the task force created by Barack Obama hope that the move will reduce the appeal of such items and help save endangered species.
The six tons of ivory that will be crushed include artwork and other confiscated objects stored in the National Wildlife Property Repository in Denver, Colorado. The crushed ivory will be used to create memorials placed around the country to raise awareness about poaching. Unfortunately, the United States is the second highest consumer of illegal animal products like elephant tusks, rhino horns, and tiger’s blood, second only to China. The director of the Fish and Wildlife Service stated that reintroducing ivory into the market wasn’t an option, because of a noted increase in demand for the product. It would also make it difficult to identify and prosecute illegal trade.
This statement about illegal poaching comes as scientists around the world claim that elephants are being killed at an estimated rate of ten thousand a year. This is because the demand for ivory has increased more than the demand for gold. Despite a national ban on the product, China has fueled the majority of the market due to their recent prosperity. On the streets, a pound of ivory could sell for $1,000 in Beijing. President Obama is concerned that wildlife poaching is fueling human trafficking and other conflicts in Africa.
By obliterating the stockpiled ivory and other products, the United States is telling not just the criminal syndicates, but our own citizens that the US will not tolerate this behavior any longer. Commend the director of the Fish and Wildlife Service for their efforts to protect African elephants.
Dear Director Daniel M. Ashe,
I wish to thank you for your plans to destroy six tons of ivory from the nation’s stockpile. The message you are sending to poachers and other criminals taking part in the illegal wildlife trade is crucial to curbing the demand for ivory and protecting elephants. With elephants being killed at an unprecedented rate each year, I am growing concerned about their survival.
I hope that you will do more in your power to combat the wildlife trade taking place in Africa, and protect this majestic species. Perhaps with time, the demand for ivory will die out and elephants will flourish in their natural habitat.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Felix Andrews via Wikimedia