I had the opportunity to attend the crushing of the ivory in Denver. Listening to the many presentations several important announcements were made. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, WWF, IFAW, Africa Wildlife Foundation, Wildlife Direct, WildAid the U.S. Department of Justice and others reported past successes as well as new efforts to curb the trade of ivory in the United States and around the world. Demand for ivory in the United States is second only to China. Speeches were forceful in describing a changed attitude toward blocking trade of ivory across international boundaries. For me, an important solution was reported by Brian Finley of the Denver Post when he quotes Jim Nyamu, a former Kenyan Wildlife Service employee who reflects on the poverty of people in rural Africa. If you want people to stop killing elephants, “Give us jobs”. These three words say it all. Hire more rangers. Plug the leak. Give people a reason to protect the environment. Give tourists the peace of mind to return to Kenya. Renew the economic engine and the multiplying effect of cash flowing through society and everyone will prosper. Plus, the elephants will come under less pressure. It won’t all go away however. Kenya’s human population growth guarantees human animal conflict into future decades. But it can be a whole lot better. Here are two of the speeches made at the ivory crush on November 14, 2013.
U.S. Crushes Ivory Stockpile
Robert Dreher, U.S. Department of Justice