Most ivory sold illegally in the world comes from elephants that have been killed recently. It does not typically come from inventory stocked from ages ago. Before it was difficult for authorities to determine how old ivory is but, with new technology, they can now date it. Researchers found that most ivory comes from elephants that were killed less than three years ago. People's desire for ivory has contributed to the most significant loss of elephants in history, with many fearing for their chances of survival. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to help keep elephant populations alive and thriving. Here is what you can do:
Don't buy ivory
This one seems obvious, but sometimes ivory can be lurking in items we might not realize. It can be used to make billiard balls, pool cues, fans, dominos, jewellery, and carved trinkets. Always ask if you are not sure and choose the non-ivory option all the time. It will send a clear message to ivory dealers that their materials are not wanted.
Elephant-friendly wood and coffee
Many timber and coffee crops are grown on plantations that destroy elephant habitats. Look for the Forest Steward Council (FSC) stamp on coffee and timber products to be sure elephants were not harmed in the making of those products.
Participate in conservation efforts
While we can't all be like Dian Fossey or Jane Goodall and dedicate our lives to wildlife conservation, we can offer support for those causes. There are several organizations devoted to elephant preservation. Here are just a few to consider getting involved with:
- African Wildlife Foundation
- International Elephant Foundation
- Amboseli Elephant Research Project
- The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Adopt an elephant
Many organizations let people "adopt" an elephant by sending you a picture of the elephant your money is helping to support. Defenders of Wildlife, Born Free, World Wildlife Foundation, and World Animal Foundation are a few with adoption programs.
Be aware of the struggles of captive elephants
Circuses and zoos essentially restrict elephants to a life of indentured servitude. Some zoos are developing better environments for their elephants, but they still have a long way to go. Circuses have even further to go as the nature of them cannot allow for elephant-friendly environments. Boycotting circuses that use animals and zoos that do not offer sufficient space for elephants is a good start. Elephants are social creatures that like to reside in groups and should be able to be in control of their lives.
Aliya Dung Paper is an environmentally-conscious stationery company that sustainably uses elephant products.