Tag Archives: world

Help Save Elephants

Do you own ivory? Or know someone who does?

Robbie Marsland, the UK director of the IFAW, said:

“Many people have unwanted ivory trinkets and by donating them for destruction, they can be sure this ivory will not end up on the market again or have a commercial value.”

February 12-13, governments from around the world are gathering in London to discuss how to end illegal wildlife trade. The IFAW is urging people in the UK to hand in unwanted ivory ahead of the summit.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has already collected some 50kg of ivory, donated in response to this appeal, to be crushed in central London next month. 

“At this key time when all eyes will be on London, the IFAW’s ivory surrender and crush will also help focus attention on the cruel ivory trade. Legal ivory trade often provides a smokescreen for more illegal killing of elephants and by donating unwanted ivory people will be making a positive contribution to elephant protection.”

Check out this LETTER HERE and consider copying/pasting/personalizing your own to send to your family and friends.



Please send a note like this to the IFAW headquarters ([email protected]) and US Fish and Game (click HERE for the online contact form)

To Whom it May Concern:

IFAW in London is asking for anyone to turn in their ivory to be crushed this February (http://elephantopia.org/2014/01/29/help-save-elephants/). Is there any movement like this in the U.S.? How can we help get one started?
Thank you,
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The End of the First Month

It’s hard to believe we’re already coming to the end of January. A lot has happened for elephants this year.


On January 6, 2013, China destroyed 6 tons of ivory. This was the first time China — which according to CNN reports, accounts for 70% of global demand for ivory — had destroyed any of its confiscated ivory. Jianguo He, who has worked against the ivory trade for 12 years with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), said witnessing the event was bittersweet:

“When you see six tonnes of ivory, you can’t help but think ‘how many elephants was that? What did those elephants die for? Ivory is not a necessity, it is simply a luxury item that people don’t need. Every ivory product means an elephant was killed. That means a loss of life and a loss of biodiversity. This is not art any more. People are exploiting nature for all it can give.”*

The sad truth is, this amount that was destroyed represents only a fraction of the amount housed in China. Some estimate*  there is closer to 45 tons of ivory stored in China!  Although this was a great first step, advocates pushed for China to do more. And on January 23, Hong Kong announced the plan to destroy 28 tons of ivory  in three batches beginning July 2014. That represents the tusks of about 11,000 elephants. The country plans to keep 1 ton of ivory for “educational and scientific purposes.”

China, which accounts for 70% of the illegal ivory trade, still has a long way to go. But we are pleased to see how 2014 is starting out - and are hopeful that maybe this year will be the year of the elephant!

A shipment of more than 700 ivory tusks worth over $1 million was seized by customs officials in Hong Kong in early January 2013. PHOTOGRAPH BY BOBBY YIP, REUTERS

A shipment of more than 700 ivory tusks worth over $1 million was seized by customs officials in Hong Kong in early January 2013.


The fight for elephants began in November of 2012 when then Secretary of State raised awareness about the elephant crisis and the need to stop the slaughter of Africa’s elephants. President Obama gave an executive order in July 2013 earmarking $10 million for training and technical assistance in Africa to combat wildlife trafficking. He also created the White House Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking. Then in the fall of 2013, 18 global conservation groups announced a 3-year, $80 million Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action to stop the killing, stop the trafficking and stop the demand for ivory. They were joined by 7 Africa heads of state calling on consumer and transit countries to ban the sale of ivory. November 2013 the US crushed 6 tons of ivory and put $45 million in new funding to combat wildlife trafficking in the fiscal year 2014 budget along with a bill that would place a moratorium on all domestic ivory sales. On January 16, NY Assembly Members met to discuss this bill to ban the ivory trade here in the US. Many of you wrote letters and received responses like this. At the hearing this month, Assemblyman Sweeney was disturbed to hear that “New York has become one of the main points of entry for the illegal ivory trade,” and for that reason he wants to see a policy change on the local level. One outcome of the hearing may eventually be a push for a statewide ban on ivory sales. WCS will be supporting such action through its newly launched 96 Elephants campaign.*

It’s taken a few years, but we are excited to see the world’s second largest consumer in ivory taking large strides to combat the illegal ivory trade. We look forward to 2014 with hope that our leaders will vote YES to ban the sale of ivory. If you haven’t already, please send a note to your local government officials. CLICK HERE for a template (copy/paste and email to your local government officials) or if you live in Texas, sign THIS PETITION. 


WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs John Calvelli joins WCS VP for Species Conservation Elizabeth Bennett, WCS President & CEO Cristian Samper and Jane Goodall at the Clinton Global Initiative’s announcement of a 3-year, $80-million Commitment to Action to protect African elephants. Photo © Julie Larsen Maher/WCS.


Great strides have been taken in Kenya to fight back against poachers seeking to destroy the wildlife heritage of the nation as well as create political & social unrest. Last fall 2013, terrorist Al Shabaab attacked a mall in Nairobi. Later it was found at least 40% of the terrorist group funding came from the illegal ivory trade on the black market. Hand Off Our Elephants campaign backed by First Lady Kenyatta began an initiative to strengthen anti-poaching laws. We are pleased to hear that in January of 2014, a bill was signed that increased fines and added possibility of life sentences in jail. And it’s already bearing fruit: earlier this week, Tang Yong Jian, a Chinese national, who was allegedly attempting to smuggle 3.2 kilograms of raw ivory out of Kenya to China, was caught. He faces a $230,000 fine OR 7 years in prison if he doesn’t pay. Prior to the new law (Wildlife Act of 2013), Tang Yong Jian would have been free to go after facing less than a $1000 fine, a punishment that provided little deterrent to smugglers because ivory fetches around $2400 per kilogram in China.

Next door to Kenya, Tanzania is loosing the most elephants per year in all of Africa. The Selous, a World Heritage Site, is now known as “Africa’s Killing Fields.”  The Mikumi-Selous ecosystems have just 13,084 elephants left (compared to 39,000 in 2009), Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystems have just 29,090 elephants left, and the Kilombero Game Controlled Area have no elephants left. Tanzania also houses the worlds largest storehouse of confiscated ivory. Currently the country is asking CITES for an allowance for a one-off legal sale. But ivory cannot fund conservation. Take a moment to CLICK HERE and contact Mr. Lazaro Nyalandu, Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, and ask him to destroy Tanzania’s ivory. In doing so, this would send a clear and critical message to the world, much like the ivory burn in Kenya in 1989.


Shared from IFAW: Ivory Burn in 1989 Kenya


We had our first official board meeting this month! We are busy writing our vision and mission statements as we begin the process of applying for nonprofit status. Our goal is two-fold: we want to raise awareness about the ivory trade elephant crisis through educational campaign and action events here in the States, and we want to partner with a local community in Africa to protect the elephants while supporting locals who may otherwise see the elephant as merely a pest or as white gold. Plans are underway for an educational campaign aimed at elementary students here in the US and we are having discussions are with an elephant orphanage in Africa about how Elephantopia can be a part of their mission to restore whole communities (both for elephants and the local people). With all the positive movements for elephants this January 2014, we are hopeful that this year will be a peaceful and protected year for the elephant.

Photo source unknown

Photo source unknown

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


An official release from China’s State Forestry Administration saying that China will soon burn a stockpile of illegal ivory!

The destruction of the ivory will be on MONDAY 6th JANUARY, and is a highly significant step towards ivory no longer being seen as a status symbol in the East.

UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Li Bingbing will be promoting the event via social media in China.

Please share widely! The world should know that China is making moves to protect Africa’s wild elephants!

(Thanks to Save the Elephants for bringing this to our attention)


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tell Others Tuesday

Every Tuesday on our Facebook Page, we ask you to share our page with your friends and family to spread awareness about elephants. Personal stories or testimonies about elephants help people who may otherwise never think about elephants learn something new, which often engenders care for the world’s largest mammal. Today we specifically asked you to tell a friend why you love elephants. Here are just a few reasons we do!

Psychologist Graeme Shannon of Sussex University found elephants in Kenya able to distinguish between different languages – English/the language of tourists clicking cameras - safe; Maa/the language of the Maasai warriors who occasionally kill elephants – potentially dangerous, ; and Swahili, generally safe. The elephants seemed anxious when someone spoke Maa; the moment she switched to Swahili, they became calm.

Animal psychologist Karen McComb, also at Sussex, played back elephant sounds – the deep, gargling rumble they make – to discover how many individual voices one animal could recognise. The answer?More than 100. 

Research in Japan suggests they can count, too.

But it is the empathy of elephants that stands out, that makes them seem so alike to humans. Prof Byrne wrote: “What elephants share with humans is that they live in an elaborate and complex network in which support, empathy, and help for others are critical for survival.”

(stories shared from John Sweeney’s article)



Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The March Made it to NatGeo!


Read a great article shared on National Geographic about the upcoming International March for Elephants - it’s not too late to join a city, find one near you at www.marchforelephants.org!

“Whoever has seen these giants marching across the last free open spaces of the world knows that this is something that must not be lost.”
– Romain Gary, The Roots of Heaven

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Waking Up the World

It seems like the world is finally waking up to this fact: elephant poaching is not just something only the eco-crazies care about. As reported in the Huffington Post article “Blood on Your Hands, China: The Link Between Ivory Consumption and Al Shabaab”:

Al Shaabab is funding a massive 40% of its operations through the illegal ivory trade. So, to put this in crude figures - if you are an ivory consumer you helped to fund 40% of the killers that entered Westgate on Saturday, which all things being equal accounted for around 25 of the estimated 62 people murdered.

Elephantopia is about spreading awareness, opening up the world’s eyes to the grim future facing elephants. My hope is that people who may not live in Africa or those who currently “don’t care” about this issue because they think there are bigger and more pressing world issues to care about, will realize that elephant poaching directly impacts those other “bigger world issues.”

While living in Africa, my husband and I were introduced to the concept of “Ubuntu” - “a person is not a person without other persons.” Or more simply put, we are all connected. What happens to one of us, affects all of us. Poaching is a great example of this.

Poaching kills elephants and is projected to wipe out the entire species in Africa by 2025 - is it estimated that one elephant is poached every 15 minutes.

Poaching kills rangers who work in the field day and night protecting elephants & other natural resources - the poachers these rangers fight are equipted with night vision goggles, machine guns, and other heavy artillary. In the last ten years, more than 5,000 rangers have been killed. Every tusk costs a life. 

Poaching funds terrorist organizations - is considered the new “blood diamond” for funding illegal operations around the world, raking no 4 in the top 5 most dangerous illegal criminal activities (along with drug trafficking, counterfeiting, human trafficking and illegal arms trade)

Poaching destroys ecosystems - the elephant is a keystone species which means thousands of other animals and plant species rely on elephants for continued growth & sustainability. Without the elephant, there will be a negative chain effect that will directly impact humans and food sources.

Poaching hurts economies that rely on tourism for a major source of income - for example, a large proportion of Kenya’s tourism centres around safaris and tours of its great National Parks and Game Reserves. According to Kenya’s First Lady Kenyatta, “The decline in elephants may affect Kenya’s tourism industry, which employs 300,000 people…” The country, home to game parks including the Maasai Mara, counts tourism as its largest foreign-exchange earner, after tea. About 1.8 million tourists visited Kenya last year, generating 96 billion shillings ($1.1 billion).

Poaching is inhumane - usually the elephant is still alive while it’s tusks are being sawed out of it’s head (one third of the tusk is embedded in the skull)

Poaching isn’t just something happening in a far away country to an animal that doesn’t really matter. No, if you care about poverty, then you should care about poaching. If you care about terrorism, then you should care about poaching. If you care about illegal criminal activities, then you should care about poaching. If you are human, then you should care about poaching and the negative effects it has on other humans, economies and ecosystems around the world. We live in a global economy with a global supply chain. Stop fooling yourself - what happens in Africa will directly impact you in some way, shape or form.

It’s time to wake up the world -  to put an end to poaching. It’s time to stop talking and start asking: what are you going to do about it?

I plan to move forward - to march for the elephant October 4, to continue to raise awareness through this blog, to work with organizations around the world to support ranger & elephant care, to keep dreaming and envisioning a harmonious future for elephants and humans. In the words of Nelson Mandela:

I am fundamentally an optimist….Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed towards the sun, one’s feet moving forward.


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Walking The Talk


I started this page because I absolutely love elephants. And because right now, human-elephant conflict is driving these beloved creatures to the brink of extinction. Elephantopia is proud to be preparing for the Houston March for Elephants this October (in conjunction with the International March for Elephants organized by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Foundation). We are partnering up with the Houston Zoo Wildlife Foundation, Whole Foods Kirby, and most recently, the Different Rhythm Foundation.

Crosby, from Different Rhythm Foundation, is a local 9-year-old in Texas who is passionate about elephants as well. She has been walking to raise funds for The Gallmann African Conservancy and to this date, has already raised $5115 USD. Now the founder of Different Rhythms, Rosie Plaia, will be walking from Austin to Houston next week, starting August 25, where she will meet with me in preparation for the October March.

This is the harmonious future Elephantopia hopes for - where people like YOU and ME work together to make a difference for elephants. Elephantopia is proud to be teaming up with Crosby! Take a moment and encourage her on the Different Rhythm Foundation facebook page. And then, take a moment and consider how YOU might help make this world a better place for elephants.


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Join the March!


I’m ecstatic! Earlier this year I started this blog and FB page as a way to share my passion about elephants with others. Now my facebook page has over 1K LIKES (most of whom I don’t even know, people from all around the world who passionately care for the future of elephants)! As it continues to grow, I am excited for the next step: to do more than just share information and sign petitions to government officials (although those are extremely important actions items!)

I am proud to announce that Elephantopia will be co-leading a march in Houston this October 4 to raise awareness about the poaching crisis!

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Foundation is heading up an official peaceful march on World Animal Day, October 4, 2013. There will be marches going on around the world on this day to make the public aware of what is going on — that to date, there are at the very most, 600,000 African Elephants left in the wild and with ivory fetching over USD $1,000 on the black market (and with lenient penalties, low risk of being caught, and high payoff incentives!), the Africa Elephant faces extinction by 2025 if things continue at their current rate. That’s just a little over ten years away.

Houston will be marching in solidarity with the official march cities on October 4, 2013. As I start the intense work of preparing for this march, I love these words of wisdom shared from Jim Nyamu (a Kenyan who recently walked  a 50 day trek covering 1,700km around Kenya to raise awareness for elephants):

Earlier on, I used to look myself as a person without resources to do this. I used to think I need a car until I realised I had my two legs and mouth to use; and these are my two greatest tools that I am going to use.

And as so eloquently stated by David Braun of National Geographic NewsWatch, the importance of individuals like YOU and ME sharing information on facebook, signing petitions, and raising awareness through peaceful marches and demonstrations can not be underestimated:

In the end, this war will be won through changing hearts and minds—or in other words, public diplomacy.
Do you live in Texas? Consider JOINING THE MARCH or JOINING THE GROUP
Want to find a city near you to participate in the march? Visit iWorry Campaign or Occupy for Elephants Group page to learn more.
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


CNN is asking for YOUR opinion on what news should be covered - PLEASE VOTE TODAY AND SELECT “ILLEGAL ANIMAL TRADE” TO BE NO.1 - you might think everyone knows about Blood Ivory and Elephants, but unless news like this is covered by large agencies, many people never hear about this issue.


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Earth Day: Earth Week

As we come to the close of our Earth Day: Earth Week celebration, we want to leave you with this thought:


Elephants Grazing
Lake Amboseli, Kenya
Photo © 2007 George Steinmetz
Source: http://bit.ly/17KSwlt

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,469 other followers

%d bloggers like this: