Target: National Elephant Center Executive Director John Lehnhardt
Goal: Commend the National Elephant Center for providing a home to elephants
An elephant sanctuary recently opened in Florida. This sanctuary will serve as a back-up conservation center if wild elephant populations in Africa go extinct
Called the National Elephant Center, this sanctuary is supported by zoo donations sufficient to keep up 225 acres of land for the elephants to roam and graze in. The sanctuary is meant to be as close to their natural home as possible, which will hopefully help the elephants to reproduce and have a better quality of life. John Lehnhardt, executive director of the sanctuary, says that baby elephants will not be sold, nor will the sanctuary buy any elephants.
The National Elephant Center is meant to serve as a back up plan in case conservation efforts in Africa fail. The sanctuary is equipped to sustain a population of elephants should the worst happen. 35,000 to 50,000 elephants are killed each year for their ivory. This means that elephants could go extinct in the next decade.
Already there is a huge push towards extinguishing the demand and supply for this trade but it is proving difficult. The wildlife trade has become the fourth largest transnational organized crime in the world, under drugs, weapons, and human trafficking. Poachers will hunt the elephants via helicopters, shooting down a herd in a few minutes. On the ground, another group of poachers will retrieve the ivory and take off before the park rangers find them. Others will resort to poisoning the elephants with cyanide.
With elephant numbers dwindling, sanctuaries such as the National Elephant Center may be the last chance for these magnificent species to survive. While it is not their natural habitat, at least the elephants in this sanctuary will not be the subject of poaching and enjoy a fulfilling life. The sanctuary is also not open to the public, enabling these creatures to live peacefully. Commend the director and his staff for protecting this incredible species.
Dear John Lehnhardt,
I would like to congratulate you on the opening of your sanctuary, and also thank you for your conservation efforts. With the elephant population dwindling in Africa, centers such as yours are imperative for their survival. I am glad that such organizations like yours exist to give these creatures a home, even if it is not their natural habitat. While the possibility of these species going extinct in Africa makes my heart ache, I know that there are others who are willing to repopulate the species. Hopefully by then, the demand for ivory will have decreased or disappeared.
Please continue with your efforts no matter how difficult it becomes. Humans have done serious damage to the environment and its animals, the least we could do is try to fix it.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Brian Snelson via Wikimedia