This is our Wildlife Conservation Blog & Call to Action dialog.
Published on Izilwane, Author: Lysander Christo
Today, the problem is poaching. It is estimated that one elephant dies every 15 minutes. We lose thousands of elephants to poaching every year, mostly for ivory or new age medicines (that don’t work). They’re killing elephants to make cheesy little elephant sculptures. So people, those trying to protect the elephant, are trying to make a difference by crushing or burning illegal ivory seized from smugglers or poachers.
At the ivory crushing event in Colorado in November, 2013, I was proud to be the only kid in attendance; my mom and dad want to educate me and to teach me respect for these great beasts, and so they brought me to this significant event. Why did no one else bring their kid? Why did no one else want to share with their children this important message? I saw many things no one else saw. I saw elephants in the distance.
I feel sad that thousands of elephants are being killed … ivory is worth nothing … if you kill just one matriarch, one mother elephant, you take joy away from thousands of others. If you kill the mom of an elephant, that child will suffer and die unless it is adopted by another willing to take on its care. Thankfully, it is very common for an elephant to be adopted, but the scars of separation are still there.
One piece of ivory generally can come from a 20- to 60-year-old elephant, but now also baby elephants are being slaughtered, killed for a piece of ivory less than a foot long. Such small, delicate pieces come from a very young elephant that is maybe 10 years old, just a kid, like me.
We children, my friends and I, are usually right: Poachers must stop poaching; the numbers have to go down. If elephants are being poached at a rate of a hundred a day, I won’t be able to see elephants when I’m 18! I might never again get to see one of these awesome giants.
The elephants have entered my heart. We are killing them just to have trophies on the wall. It is not worth having trophies; it is like having a dead body under your bed. It is a bad feeling. People who want trophies either have no idea what’s going on or are psycho because they just don’t care. This is an age when people have to care about life. If there’s no life, there is nothing left to enjoy in the world.
I’m really stunned by how beautiful elephants are, and if we humans keep killing elephants, in 10 years there won’t be anymore. We will lose joy, we will lose wonder, we will lose everything to do with nature!
If children don’t get to know that elephants exist, they will miss the introduction to life.
NOTE: Lysander Christo has travelled with his parents to Africa, Asia and the Arctic. Among his favorite animals are elephants, whales, lions, tigers, polar bears and horses! He is eight years old and lives in Santa Fe, NM. We all hope the ivory trade stops soon!