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.
If you go by Hollywood, elephants only converse in trumpets. However, this couldn't be farther from the truth. Elephants not only make noises to communicate, they have their own sign language, and even send out vibrations we humans can't catch!
Researchers have spent dozens of years observing elephant communication, and they've shared some of their findings, which I thought I'd pass on to you. There are several facets of elephant communication; more than with human communication, actually. Here are the different categories, as organized by Elephant Voices:
I am constantly discovering (and sometimes envying) the genius of others, but in this article, I bow to these amazing research projects that work to protect elephants and rhinos against the ivory trade. I've shared my favorites with you because y'all need to know about these too.
1. Rhino Rescue Project
This project blows my mind. Rhino Rescue Project, which many of you know as the project that dies rhino tusks pink, was started in South Africa in 2010. RRP is the result of a desire to be proactive and protect a member of the Big 5, the rhino, which is under threat of disappearing this year. Their idea? Devalue the horn!
I learned this morning that one of my favorite actors died of cancer. Alan Rickman, best known for his role as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series, passed away this morning at the age of 69.
This news is not only sad because the world has lost another wonderfully talented actor, it is disappointing that Rickman's life ended so early. After David Bowie's death on Jan. 10, this news seems almost eerie. Bowie, who was battling liver cancer, also passed away at 69.
Now that we're all feeling down, let's move on to a happier note. The reason this celebrity news is on my elephant blog is due to a fascinating recent discovery: elephant don't get cancer.
In this post we're going to look at how poaching works, following the trade from the attack on the elephant herd to the sale of a carved ivory product. To see a visual explanation of this process, check out this video.
Poaching is a much more sophisticated trade than we think, which is why it's so hard to capture poachers and to eliminate poaching rings. But before I get ahead of myself, let's start at the beginning:
If you're like me, you've spent your Christmas break watching a few more videos than you probably should have. But luckily, this can be turned into something that's both fun and productive (and that I can turn into a blog post)! So I decided to make a list of my favorite elephant videos, just for fun. Enjoy!
WildAid, a global organization that works to stop wildlife trade all over the world, has scores of celebrity ambassadors from several nations. One of my favorites who's gotten a lot of publicity recently, is Harrison Ford. Here's a cool video he did for WildAid.
The Global Trade
Did you know that across the world, there are less than 600,000 elephants? That includes those in zoos and in the wild, both in Africa and Asia. All over the place, elephants are dying, and they have been for decades. While it's all over international news today, no one paid any attention to the drastic situation until the imminent threat of the extinction of elephants became a realistic fear.
Thankfully, progress is now being made to stop the ivory trade, which takes out 33,000 African elephants each year. But this trade is far from over. In fact, poaching has become such a lucrative and organized crime that it's going to take a lot of work to eliminate it.
So in this second installment on poaching, let's look at where poaching happens. It seems like it takes place so far away from our lives here in Midwest America, but we can still feel its affects. So let's spend this blog looking at the different settings of the ivory trade.
While hanging with my sister in her room today, I rediscovered a fascinating little book about elephants, and I just had to share it with y'all. This book is actually a small journal, with completely blank pages (even though my sister has had it for years). Like many other journals these days, this one is made from completely organic resources, so this little fact isn't anything special.
So why blog about it? Well, it's made completely from poop!
Yep, you read that right. my sister's little journal is made completely out of elephant poop, digested and gathered in Thailand! Just to reassure you, it carries no smell whatsoever, which is why it's still in our house.
Now, you may not find this discovery a very exciting one, but I would disagree. In my opinion, this little journal carries a great hope for a very important species. As you'll know if you've followed my blog for a bit, both African and Asian elephants are critically endangered, with less than 400,000 present on the African continent and less than 60,000 left in Asia. With the disappearance of their habitat and the constant struggle of human-elephant conflict, Asian elephants stand very little chance of survival in the wild.
Let's say you had a young elephant to buy Christmas presents for. What are the perfect gifts to leave under the tree? What kind of toys do baby elephants like to play with? Well, luckily for you I've made a short list of things elephant calves love, to help you get your shopping started.
Soccer ball- as I mentioned in an earlier post, elephants love to kick around a ball, although it might need to be pumped up several times.
Tub of water- elephants also love water, especially since it keeps their sensitive skin hydrated. They have so much fun splashing around!
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.