By R.C. Seely

“An elephant is killed every 15 minutes,” that’s the war-cry to action by the activists at iWorry a program set up by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a charity based in Kenya. According to the Trusts’ own, Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, the elephant could be extinct in the wild in about 12 years. Reportedly last year 36,000 African elephants were killed for their ivory ” buying ivory only serves to fuel a trade which results in more senseless deaths of these beautiful animals. We can’t let man-made extinction be the end of this iconic species,” she continued.

Their webpage is not dissimilar to the Humane Society’s format complete with an “adopt an elephant” feature.

On October, 4 2014, the group even held an “International March for Elephants” boasting more than 18,000 participants taking to the streets to petition their government to establish a total moratorium of ivory in their country. Amongst the supporters of this cause is actress, Kristin Davis, from the Sex and the City franchise. “All elephants are under siege,” said Davis.” Elephants have such personality.” That’s one point Davis and I agree “elephants do have a lot of personality” – but it’s not necessarily a pleasant one! Elephants are one of the most ill-tempered and destructive species on the planet, after Alec Baldwin.

Unlike Davis, however, I’m not so eager to foist over control of a trade to any single group or government – not without finding out the specifics of their course of action and examining all options. All that is reported by the Sheldrick Trust is they call for an establishment for a “complete ban” international on ivory and to have the elephant wholly protected. Is that all? While the endeavor is a good one the results are not, as is common with activists the leading with their emotions – going full steam ahead without letting something like facts get in the way of their grand standing.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see the extinction of the elephant (or any species for that matter). I think the world is worse off without the Tasmanian Wolf, Dodo bird and Passenger Pigeon, but careful aforethought of the best way to proceed is the only way to succeed. The game plan the Sheldrick Trust is pushing for has been tried numerous times without success, an ivory prohibition would be as successful as every other prohibition has been, but in this case it will end with the extinction of the elephant.

The problem that is not being addressed: There’s a lot of money involved here, and that won’t end simply because you want it to. As far-fetched as it might sound the only plan that will work isn’t to increase restrictions on the ivory market, but instead to lift the bans. Set up a legal market for ivory, then you will create a vested interest by a group to protect the species.

Davis is obviously a caring individual (if you’re an elephant at least, I don’t know how she is with people), but caring doesn’t get the job done if you ignore logic. What has any government done to successful protect a species from demise? It was the Australian government that ignored the decreasing numbers of the Tasmanian Wolf, to protect the sheep trade; it was the laws of the United States government that killed the orphan fawn “giggles” in Wisconsin; it was the government that turned a blind eye when at the numerous needy killings of peoples’ dogs by overzealous policemen; and it was the government that took away a man’s pet raccoon, simply because they could. The way to save the animals from extinction are the individuals, the people of the Sheldrick Trust, Kristin Davis, the zoos and other establishments, people who care enough to step in and do something – not callous and ignorant governments, that the same with human activities, only make things far worse.

Like what you read? Get the author’s new book UNConventional Wisdom: Methods of Behavior Modification for the Modern Age, available at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com.

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