Every 15 minutes, an African elephant is killed. Its tusks are fashioned into jewelry, or into products like piano keys or even billiard balls.
Google, Facebook, eBay and other tech industry leaders have had enough. They’ve joined the new U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance and pledged their skills to protect elephants and other irreplaceable species.
What do these Internet giants bring to the fight? Facebook, with almost 1.5 billion active users around the world, is exploring social media campaigns to reduce American demand for ivory. Google helped roll out the alliance website in English, Spanish, French, Chinese and Vietnamese, and it works with eBay to stop the online sale of illegal ivory. President Obama announced the formation of the alliance on July 31, during his visit to Kenya. Its private, public and nonprofit members will meet at the White House in October to decide on the next steps.
Did you know? Illegal ivory:
- Hurts communities: Poachers’ relentless killing of African elephants deprives people of sustainable livelihoods in tourism.
- Supports instability: Criminal networks and armed groups finance their activities with an estimated $20 billion annually from the illegal wildlife trade.
- Challenges elephants’ survival: Demand for ivory has elephant populations plummeting. Since 2005, Central Africa has lost well over half of its elephants.
What can you do? Plenty, even if you’re not an Internet giant. If your organization conducts wildlife conservation programs, consider applying for a grant from these conservation funds. Or you can take part in a global march for elephants and rhinos on October 3 and 4 in a participating city close to you.
As President Obama wrote in his introduction to the 2014 National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, “the entire world has a stake in protecting the world’s iconic animals.” But a formidable herd of allies including tech titans and their allies — including you! — can make a difference.