By Justin Thompson [Letter to Editor\
Each year 30,000 Asian and African elephants die because of poaching and at this rate they may be gone by 2025. If we keep killing elephants, we will find elephant habitats empty of wildlife. They will be empty of happy animals. Elephant poaching has to cease.
Elephant poaching is a major problem. That is because elephants have dropped to a very low population. Also, elephants may lose the gene to grow tusks. Elephants can end up having no tusks. Elephant poaching is happening so we can take the elephant’s tusks. If elephant poaching continues, we can’t have the tusks. We need to stop or else there will be no elephants to make your billiard balls with. There will be none left to make your ivory statues.
Elephant poaching is when elephants are killed for their ivory. They are killed illegally. You can earn up to $240-$2,000 per tusk. Elephant poaching is earning $17 million and growing. Some poachers disguise the ivory. They can coat it in chocolate to help. While some ivory is allowed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), some ivory is illegally snuck in. One way to tell if a tusk is illegal is by using radiocarbon dating. The more radiocarbon that’s in an elephants tusks, the longer it’s been alive after the 1950s. Scientists measure the amount and if there is a lot, the elephant is older, and its tusk is not illegal. The tusks with fewer amounts are illegal and not allowed to be sold. An elephant grows to be an average of 60 years old.
Elephant poaching is a major problem. The ivory collected is illegal and people will go to jail for having it. Lots of people like having the ivory items, and that is not good. For one thing, elephants die so you can have the ivory. Also, ivory being illegal causes the black market to flourish. One fifth of the Chinese population doesn't know that the ivory is illegal. The ivory demand has been growing so the elephants are dying. Elephants help the ecosystem that they thrive in, so killing them will harm the environment too. Asian elephants may lose the gene to grow tusks due to elephant poaching. Forty percent to 50 percent on average have no tusks, but in Sri Lanka, 90 percent of the elephants have no tusks.
The greatest threats facing elephants today are poaching, conflict with humans and habitat loss and shame. Elephants across Africa and Asia are being poached for their ivory at increasing levels.
Elephants are losing their natural prospering grounds and ancient migratory routes. This is due to growing human homelands, plantation development and building infrastructure such as roads, canals and pipelines. As a result of the growing economy, the level of human-elephant conflict rises as elephants are forced to try access resources. In 1989, CITES banned the international trade in ivory. However, there are still some flourishing but tolerant domestic ivory markets in a quantity of countries, which fuel an illegal worldwide trade. Poaching to meet growing demand from wealthy Asian countries is driving up the amount of poaching. In some countries, political conflict contributes to poaching. Elephants only have one chance. Why should we be the reason they die. Why would we kill defenseless animals, just for ivory? Is it worth it to end up in prison? How would anyone be able to look at themselves after killing an elephant? Most of the problem is consumer demand. If people ask for less ivory, we can find savannas, rain forests and other elephant habitats full of elephants. We will notice the increase in the elephant population.
As a concerned sixth grader, I hope that the elephant population will increase. One way this will happen is by having you publish this article. People will notice the worldwide problem and want to help.
Hillside Intermediate School