The Honorable Ms. Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
Dear Secretary Clinton:
On behalf of all of us at JulietteSpeaks, we wish to thank you for your recent pledge, along with other world leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, to better combat illegal trafficking in wildlife. JulietteSpeaks’ mission is to rescue and protect elephants and we applaud your insistence on increased laws and punishment for violators.
As you know, 2011 was the worst year on record for the slaughter of African elephants, fueled by Asian demand for ivory. The story of what is going on is spelled out in graphic detail in the New York Times article, Elephants Dying in Epic Frenzy as Ivory Fuels Wars and Profits (9/3/12) which also commends you for your bold advocacy work. It is also covered in National Geographic’s October 2012 cover story entitled Blood Ivory. In the face of the ongoing slaughter, poaching, capture and abuse of wildlife, I hope we can all work together to educate people to demand protection and change.
As a 16-year old, I am doing all I can to bring awareness to youth through public speaking and elephant rescue. I have spoken to over 400,000 youth and adults about elephant welfare and received the 2011 Youth Activist Award at the Animal Rights Conference. BornFreeUSA has appointed me “International Youth Ambassador for Elephants” and in this role, in March 2013, I plan to travel to Bangkok to speak at the CITES Conference about the horrific ivory trade issues. I hope to be able to deliver a petition of one million signatures from youth.
In 2009, I travelled to Thailand to purchase an elephant out of captivity with Ms. Lek Chailert, the Founder of the Elephant Nature Park sanctuary, who was recently named Outstanding Woman of Thailand. This rescue mission was captured in the documentary film How I Became An Elephant. Lek and I are now partnering on a new JulietteSpeaks project, AdoptAnElephant.org, through which people can help rescue elephants out of captivity and deliver them to a sanctuary to live out their days in peace.
You met Lek on 10/7/10, when she came to Washington DC to be honored at the Women Heroes of Global Conservation luncheon. Both you and Lek are truly inspirational leaders for the stance you have taken on protecting wildlife, and you’re both huge role models for youth!
Americans do care about illegal wildlife trade. Thank you SO much, Secretary Clinton, for your courageous stance and bold statements about the need to protect wildlife. You are a heroine to elephants for helping to bring global visibility to this tragic and urgent issue. I hope we can work together to promote youth advocacy for these elephants.
On behalf of the elephants, and every living creature, thank you….
Juliette West (age 16)
Top Photo: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (second right) attends a bilateral meeting with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, unseen, held on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Vladivostok, Russia, Sept. 8, 2012. (Photo: AP Photo)