As the US celebrated its hard-earned freedom and independence this weekend, we urge everyone to remember the elephants, too. Our nation has the power to help safeguard a keystone species that's rapidly headed towards extinction. But we must act now.
In the spirit of July 4, here are four reasons why America should free itself from the tyranny of the brutal ivory trade!
1. Protecting our national security interests.
Elephant poaching and wildlife trafficking are strongly linked to terrorist networks such as Al Shabaab, the Lord's Resistance Army, Boko Haram and others. These terrorist groups slaughter elephants mercilessly, and then use the profits to fund their horrific criminal operations.
The more elephants they kill, the more power they gain. Ending the ivory trade would put a serious dent in terrorists' cash flow, and therefore protect all the people these groups seek to harm both here at home and abroad.
2. Freeing ourselves from our role in elephant extinction.
The US is the world's second largest consumer of ivory products. By consuming meaningless trinkets carved out of the tusks of wild elephants, we're participating in the decimation of the entire elephant species.
As long as ivory is for sale in the US, criminals will seek to profit off of the marketplace. More and more elephants will die, until none are left. The only way to ensure that America is playing no part in the extinction of elephants is to end the ivory trade here at home.
We must act swiftly to free ourselves from this nefarious trade. We don't want the loss of elephants on our hands.
3. Providing a better world for our children.
We're currently losing 35,000 elephants each year to the brutal ivory trade. At this rate, elephants will be extinct in the wild in a generation. What kind of world do we want to provide for our children: a world where elephants thrive in the wild, or a world full of sadness and regret at the loss of such a magnificent species?
Children learn that "E" is for "elephant" - not "extinction." We must do everything in our power here in the US to end the ivory trade so that our children and their children don't have to grow up in a world without elephants.
4. Honoring a species that enriches our planet.
Elephants are a keystone species. That means that entire ecosystems depend on the existence of elephants to function. Elephants scatter seeds, clear brush, and help sustain lands that allow countless other plant and animal species to thrive. If we lose elephants, only devastation will follow - on a scale we can't even fully comprehend.
Elephants are also worth saving for their own sake. Elephants are among the most intelligent, emotional, and wise creatures on our planet. We still have so much to learn from them - and in the process, to learn about ourselves. But as long as the ivory trade continues, elephants will be at risk ... and so will we all.
Citizens: The time is now!
Time is running out for elephants. But as citizens of a great democracy, we all have the power to make a difference!
We are the people - and the US is a nation founded on freedom and democracy. We must harness the power our nation's forefathers gave us and free elephants - and ourselves - from the ivory trade while we still can.
It's easy to play your part in ending the ivory trade. Submit a letter to the editor at your local paper; make a single phone call to an elected official as a concerned citizen; and educate your friends and family to never buy ivory products.
We, the people, declare that elephants must survive. The ivory trade must end. If we all add our voice to the cause, our government will listen.