Like 44 million other people around the world, I’m a member of a global campaign network called Avaaz which helps ensure that the views and values of its members shape global decision-making.
Avaaz means voice or song in many languages.
Today, I’ve received an email from Avaaz, which has made me very sad but determined at the same time and I wanted to tell you about it.
Avaaz say that once upon a time, 25 million elephants roamed Africa. Now the entire species is at risk of being wiped out in a decade, before they are poached to extinction.
“Poachers are killing 100 elephants a day -- shooting them from helicopters, or hacking their faces off while they’re still alive. It’s unbearably cruel. And the worst is the elephants understand what’s happening to them. They spend hours crying over dead family members.”
There is a chance to shut down a major ivory market in Europe. We can all argue for ages about the country most at fault in not tackling ivory markets and shutting them down – but my view is that every market makes a difference. Every ivory market needs to be shut down.
The only way to save elephants is a global ban on the ivory business. The time is right and momentum has never been stronger, Avaaz says. “The US and China passed ivory bans. Hong Kong looks set to phase-out trade by 2021. And the EU just suspended exports of raw tusks. Now, they’re considering further restrictions.”
There’s a way to start tackling Europe’s ivory market.
Experts found that Europe's 'antique' trade is driving the slaughter of elephants by giving cover for illegal ivory, the EU launched a public consultation. It wants proof. If they get that proof, a total ban is possible.
The Avaaz team have found a way to get the proof needed.
They are teaming up with Oxford University and top wildlife investigators to source ivory across Europe and then radiocarbon test it to tell its age. This could provide the evidence needed to get the ban.
The consultation ends in weeks. Avaaz is the only crowdsourced funding model which can raise enough, fast enough to get this grassroots-supported scientific study ready to lobby the EU as it is considering the ban. The EU is asking for it now – but nobody else is ready to go on such an ambitious project.
Let’s all bring elephants back from the brink. As I type, nearly 37,000 people have already donated, so please join them – Chip in what you can, £5, £7, £11 - it doesn’t matter but please do something - and let’s get this scientific study ready to help ensure this isn’t the elephants’ last decade by getting the proof needed. Please spread the word, even if you can't donate.
Image above ©Avaaz