Happy Elephant Appreciation Day! It's been an incredible year for elephants and rhinos, and I am so thankful to have been a part of it. As I look back, I feel a mixture of intense pride in our progress and pinching anxiety for the future of these species.
When I see the new voices speaking out against illegal ivory sales, I am so happy to that my voice has reached hundreds of people, and that I've been able to spread both appreciation and enthusiasm for pachyderms and rhinos around the world. However, as I wait for my group documentary to go through the editing stages, I grow more and more anxious that the footage we captured in South Africa might one day be all I have left to remember these beautiful creatures. How I pray that won't be so.
On the other hand, because I have seen the difference one voice can make toward saving animal species, I am even more determined to keep fighting. I may be one small voice, but just one video, one article or one picture can protect the life of a critical creature thousands of miles away. And believe me, I've invested in all of them.
I encourage you to do the same, not just with elephants and rhinos, but with critically endangered species around the globe. After all, if we don't speak out against illegal wildlife trade, who will?
So keep spreading the word, keep supporting conservation, and keep appreciating elephants! Because the truth is, ivory is not a product. It's a color.
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.