FHS Press

Mommy, what is an elephant?

If big game ban lifts, endangered animals may not stand a chance

Jessica Palakovich, Editor-in-Chief (FHS-Press.com)

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The five most sought after animals—lions, elephants, white rhinoceros, leopards and buffalo—are anywhere from nearly to critically endangered. To most, it is frightening to think that one day kids will grow up learning about these majestic creatures in history textbooks.

           Besides environmental issues, the most urgent threat to big game animals is poaching.

On Nov. 15, President Donald Trump’s administration announced that they would be lifting the ban on the importation of elephant trophies from certain countries—including Zimbabwe and Zambia—that the Obama administration set years prior. Two days later, Trump tweeted that the decision was put on hold for the time being.

It is no secret that members of his immediate family enjoy hunting, as seen in the case of 2012 when Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, posed with the carcasses of an elephant, a leopard, a water buffalo and other big game animals. However, in response to these photos, Trump said he disapproved of it.

“My sons love hunting, I don’t,” Trump went on to say.

Many celebrities took to social media to advocate for the animals who can’t speak for themselves.

On Twitter, journalist and television personality Piers Morgan said, “BOOM! Thank you, Mr President. Trophy-hunting is repellent.”

Comedian and TV show host Ellen DeGeneres even went as far to make a campaign to raise money for elephants after it was announced that the ban may be lifted. For every like and retweet she received on Instagram or Twitter, she said she would make a donation to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a foundation that’s mission is to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned elephants in Nairobi National Park, Kenya.

According to the U.N., due to the illegal ivory trade in Africa, around 100 elephants are being killed daily. That number equates to around 35,000 being slaughtered annually.

As for lions, approximately two percent of the total population dies each year from illegal poaching. A study done by the International Fund for Animal Welfare in 2011 shows that between the years of 1999 and 2008, Americans importing lions to the U.S. amounted to 64 percent of all African lions killed for sport during that period.

A study done by Traffic, a wildlife trade monitoring network, showed that each year 100 tigers die from poaching. Globally, there are only an estimated 3,500 tigers in existence.

As for African rhinos, over 7,245 were killed due to poaching in the past decade. In 2013, 59 rhinos, equating to five percent of the total population, were killed in Kenya.

Without immediate action to reverse the damage caused by poaching and loss of habitats, these endangered animals have a high chance of becoming extinct in the near future.

As for now, the focus is on conserving wildlife and reducing the poaching of endangered species.

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Mommy, what is an elephant?