So how can you personally help stop the ivory trade? Here are a few ways you can get started:
The Demand Side of the Ivory Trade
The DEMAND SIDE consists of individual consumers who are buying ivory in nice clean stores. However, as innocent as this seems, in reality it is the most pernicious because it is driving the supply side. People need to understand that when they buy their pretty little ivory trinkets, wild elephants were brutally killed and had their faces hacked off. That’s why it’s good to promote the term “bloody ivory” so people understand the connection. Right now, about 100 elephants are being killed PER DAY to feed the demand for ivory figurines, combs, chop sticks, and sculptures.
1) Reach Out Person-To-Person - If you have friends or family in China or other countries where ivory is popular, reach out to them to find out if they are buying ivory, and if yes, explain to them why they should stop. The personal connection may be the most effective.
2) Use Social Media - Reach out to your network to make them aware of the ivory trade, but go beyond that to try to spread awareness where it is really needed – where people are purchasing ivory. There are many pages on Facebook devoted to stopping the ivory trade. Please “like” the JulietteSpeaks Facebook page.
3) Promote a Media Campaign – Every Tusk Costs a Life from Elephant Voices is available in English and Chinese.
4) Sign and Promote A Petition – iWorry – Say No to Ivory Petition is a good one. There are many others you can find as well. Some of these are focused on strengthening national and international regulation and policing of the ivory trade.
5) Start a School Club – JulietteSpeaks feels that youth have powerful voices and that’s why we started the Global Youth Against the Ivory Trade School Clubs program. If you are a student, we invite you to get your school involved and to connect and collaborate with other schools globally.
The Supply Side of the Ivory Trade
The SUPPLY SIDE consists of poachers (often now part of organized crime) who are increasingly using helicopters and machine guns to slaughter whole elephant families as they run try to escape the hail of bullets. The elephants’ faces are then hacked off to get the ivory and the ivory is then smuggled out of the country. Because the supply side is driven by the demand side, addressing the supply side is sort of like trying to fix the symptoms (poaching) instead of the cause (demand for ivory). Nonetheless, there is work to be done on the supply side too.
In addition to the poachers and international crime syndicates, stakeholders on the supply side include national and international governmental bodies that are responsible for regulation and policing, the national parks where elephants live, and the tourism industries whose fortunes depend on healthy wildlife.
1) Write to government leaders to ask them to:
- strengthen laws
- increase policing, enforcement, punishment
- provide more funding for national park rangers
2) Build coalitions with other stakeholders such as the tourism industry, national parks, and nonprofit groups. Come up with goals, strategies, and action plans.
3) Engage the media to tell the story of the value of elephants to African countries and the price of allowing them to go extinct to feed the demand for ivory coming from other countries.
4) Adopt An Orphaned Elephant – You can foster an orphaned baby elephant through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
5) Start a School Club – If you are a student, we invite you to get your school involved and to connect and collaborate with other schools globally through the Global Youth Against the Ivory Trade School Clubs program.