Elephants, Never Forget

by in Marinelife

The International Fund for Animal Welfare has announced this year’s Animal Action education program, “Elephants, Never Forget.” And they have some celebrity help, this year; actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio will act as the global ambassador for the program.

The IFAW Animal Action program has been educating young people on ways to positively affect wildlife and the environment for 18 years. This year’s program will provide lesson plans, videos and supplements to educators in 15 countries. These materials are expected to reach seven million teachers, students and families.

“Elephants, Never Forget,” aims to educate the public on the persistent tragedy of elephant poaching. The ivory trade was banned in 1989, but poaching continues and has more than halved the elephant population from its 1979 tally of 1.3 million.

The demand for ivory continues, in part, because of misinformation. According to polling conducted on behalf of IFAW, many people around the world mistakenly believe that elephants are not killed when their ivory is harvested.The largest market for ivory, these days, is China where, reportedly, 70 percent of people are naive of the reality that elephants give up their lives in exchange for their ivory.

Photo VIA New Scientist

This lack of understanding is justwhat this year’s Animal Action aims to correct, and DiCaprio’s name will attract a lot of attention to the campaign.

“We are honoured to have Leonardo’s support for our Animal Action campaign to stem the ivory trade,” said IFAW President and CEO Fred O’Regan. “With his help, we hope to create a groundswell for elephant protection that can’t be ignored.”

For his part, DiCaprio seems happy to represent such a worthy cause. “The ivory trade fuels conflict and strife,” DiCaprio says.

“Elephants are killed by poachers so their tusks can be traded for weapons and drugs by international criminal organizations before becoming trinkets and jewellery for consumers. Authorities in 85 countries have seized almost 400 tons of ivory on the black market since the 1989 ivory trade ban.”

As part of this initiative, IFAW plans to collect one million signatures this year, to urge governments to combat poaching and present a stronger opposition of the international ivory trade. This petition can be found on their website. – Jen R, Staff Writer

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