"I need answers."
The fire in her voice showed an inflamed passion. In my mind's eye I could almost see sparks shooting from her eyes. Christina LaMonica has spent the last two years fighting the ivory trade in Ohio, with relative success, so when she discovered a new roadblock, she started lighting her matches.
I listened to his voice, searching for a hint of emotion. He was relaxed, speaking freely and calmly. He betrayed nothing; I could hear no frustration and urgency in his tone, a stark contrast to his message. He was perhaps the calmest advocate I've ever spoken with, but beneath that tranquility is a dedicated fighter in the battle against ivory.
His name is Dustin Thibideau, and he is Ivory Free Indiana.
On Wednesday afternoon I had the privilege of speaking with Rep. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania, who recently introduced House Bill 1537 to prohibit ivory trading and sales within the state.
Rep. Dean told me that she learned of the ivory trade fairly recently. "Truly, if I had spoken to you a year and a half ago, I would not have had this issue on my radar at all," she said. Dean credits her brother with giving her a knowledge and passion for saving elephants. "He has been talking about elephants for years and years," she said. "I eventually had to stop and say, 'What are you saying?' 'What am I missing?'"
Just as gay marriage laws became a recent trend among state legislatures, anti-ivory trade laws are popping up all over the nation. But what exactly do these laws (or in some cases, bills) say? What exactly is legal or illegal when it comes to possessing and selling ivory in America? Well, I'm glad you asked, because that's what I'm going to talk about in this post!
This post is the last installment of the In-depth series, so I thought I'd end on a happy note: what's being done to stop poaching in Africa. As I covered in my last post, poaching is a complex and organized crime, so stopping it isn't easy. But there are several different angles that governments and organizations have approached anti-poaching, and so far, their efforts are making a difference.
We all know colors have meaning. There's a reason some people are more drawn to reds and oranges and others choose blues and browns. But what is the meaning of ivory as a color? What does it signify? Well, let's find out.
Before I get into the fourth installment of An In-depth Look at Poaching, I must apologize for releasing it so late. The truth is, this installment is on a heavy topic, one that is hard to write and read about. So far, I've focused on the impact poaching has on the elephant populations, but in this blog I'm focusing on the human impact of poaching: terrorism.
At first it may seem unlikely that terrorism and poaching are related, but they actually have a direct link: poaching funds terrorism. Now to be clear, I'm not claiming that all terrorist groups are also elephant killers; however, it is widely known in Africa that at least three groups have been able to fund their efforts through the illegal ivory trade.
Kerry Skiff is a conservation advocate and recent journalism graduate of Northern Kentucky University. She follows the ivory trade around the world, and uses her voice to educate Americans about their role in animal conservation.