Target: U.S. District Judge Esther Salas
Goal: Encourage and commend the protection of ivory-possessing animals
Animals that possess ivory horns, specifically rhinoceros, have been illegally and immorally targeted by poachers for years with little rest. Rhinoceros are seeing an alarming decline in numbers, fighting against the lucrative ivory trade. Every person involved in the ivory trade, including poachers and those selling the ivory to large factories, must be stopped and punished for their actions. Thankfully, one U.S. District Judge, Esther Salas, understands the serious nature of ivory-trade crimes and sentences individuals caught in the trade accordingly. Salas recently sentenced a man guilty of selling ivory 70 months in prison, a sentence that sends a strong message and is worthy of accolade.
The man found guilty working in the trade, Zhifei Li, is on record for being deeply sorry for his actions while his lawyer has pleaded that Li should be sentenced less than 70 months due to health complications and a sick child. However unfortunate Li’s situation may be, Salas wishes to make an example of Li’s situation through his sentence, stating that the poaching of endangered animal parts will not be tolerated. With over 1,000 rhinoceros killed in 2013 alone, drastic measures must be taken in order to stop the killings.
While Li never pulled the trigger of a gun pointed at a rhinoceros, he is just as guilty as a person who has. Li sold the ivory, which his lawyer claims was years old and not a part of the most recent poaching incidents, and pushed its popularity within the black market and through Chinese factories that make the ivory into souvenirs. Li is part of the problem and now holds a sentence which reflects his guilt. Salas’s ruling was just and she deserves to be commended for her positive involvement in ending the ivory trade.
Dear Judge Salas,
A man by the name of Zhifei Li recently stood before your court of law, pleading for forgiveness from his involvement in the illegal ivory trade. Under your ruling, Li is now sentenced to 70 months in prison because he sold ivory to Chinese factories, which in turn has fueled the black market ivory trade. I am writing to commend you for speaking out about the illegal ivory trade, bringing awareness to the issue through Li’s sentence.
Rhinoceros are at a critical point in the history of their species. Numbers are staggering, with last year’s death toll ringing in at over 1,000 animals. Rhinoceros need help, and I thank you for aiding them in their plight.
Please continue to stand up to poaching, punishing all of those involved in the trade. It is clear that you truly understand the severity of the situation and will stop at nothing to bring justice to these magnificent beasts. Your efforts are recognized and greatly appreciated.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Lukas Kaffer via Wikimedia Commons