We will confront any government anywhere in the world whose policies and actions or in-actions contribute to the senseless slaughter and inhumane treatment of elephants.
In Asia, an estimated 16,000 elephants are currently maintained in captivity for a variety of purposes: logging, tourism, cultural and religious activities, and transportation. Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is home to the largest captive Asian elephant population in the world. Of the 5,520 elephants in captivity, 2,985 are owned by the government-run Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE), and 2,535 are privately owned. The number of captive elephants exceeds the number of elephants in the wild in Myanmar which number around 3,000.
We are pursuing a strategic public/private partnership with the Myanmar government to provide a long-term solution to the challenge facing the government regarding what to do with the thousands of former timber elephants in their care and those privately owned – as well as the mahouts who care for them.
The port in Lagos, Nigeria has become the largest exit points in Africa for ivory and other illegal wildlife. Additionally, the illegal sale of ivory within the country is happening with impunity. We are working with strategic partners in the country and internationally to push for the enforcement of existing laws as well as working for the enactment of new laws that will bring greater ability for the government to crack down on this illegal activity.
The world's fragile elephant population which has been in a dramatic decline for the last several decades from poachers and profiteers, now faces a new ominous threat -- President Trump, his sons, and his Administration. The President has chosen to abdicate America’s unparalleled role in leading the efforts to protect this threatened pecies and has done so without explanation or cause.
The decision by President Trump to allow for the import of elephant trophies into the United States will increase the senseless killing by big game hunters of this threatened and vulnerable keystone species. It also signals to China that the U.S. is abdicating its long-standing commitment to lead the world in elephant protection and conservation. This sends a message to China that they are free to not enforce their ban as well as takes pressure off the European Union to act to enact laws to end domestic ivory markets.
Additionally, the Department of Interior under President Trump established the International Wildlife Conservation Council (IWCC). The mandate of this Council, whose majority is comprised of trophy hunters or groups that advocate for the hunting of elephants, is to increase awareness of the “economic benefits that result from U.S. citizens traveling abroad to hunt.” One of the members co-owns a hunting preserve with Trump’s son Don Jr – who is an avid big game hunter and killer of elephants.
We are waging an aggressive bi-partisan effort to push President Trump to restore the ban on the import of elephant trophies and disband the IWCC and restore America as a global leader in the protection of elephants. As part of our effort we have filed a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request with the U.S. Department of Interior for information regarding this decision since we believe that Donald Trump Jr. was actively involved in pushing for the IWCC because of his interest in hunting wildlife including elephants.
Additionally, we have dedicated part of our Horton Series of Editorial Cartoons to highlighting Trump and his decision to end the ban and establish the IWCC.
We have also started a PETITION to push for action to get President Trump and the Department of Interior to do what is right and restore America as a leader in the protection of elephants.