South African Airways: Stop Transporting Ivory and Other Hunting Trophies

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the Nyungwe Forest National Park in Rwanda. I saw no elephants. I was told by a ranger there are essentially no more elephants to be seen in the National Park. Following years of political upheaval and close proximity to the Congo, the poaching of these animals resulted in their disappearance.

African elephants are in trouble. The data recently released following The Great Elephant Census show that elephants in Africa are being killed for their tusks at a rate of one every 15 minutes. This number includes poaching and also those animals killed through trophy hunting.

Elephants are a keystone species that play an important role in maintaining the biodiversity of the ecosystems in which they live. Saving the elephants requires strengthening anti-poaching efforts and patrols in Africa's parks, supporting governments in apprehending and sentencing ivory traffickers, and putting an end to legal trophy hunting. It is well documented that trophy hunting has failed to provide the promised revenue for either conservation or for the local communities. (National Geographic, Nov. 2015) 

Through public education and awareness, there is a growing worldwide effort to shut down the trade of ivory by stopping poaching, diminishing consumer demand for ivory products, and by stopping the transport of ivory. South African Airways (SAA) originally joined the worldwide embargo on transporting legally hunted trophies last year, but lifted the ban just three months later. Allowing the shipment of ivory is providing a get away vehicle for the theft of African wildlife. Whether the hunt is legal or illegal - the end result is the same.

There are estimated to be only 400,000 elephants left in Africa. To protect these amazing creatures, we need a unified front and SAA is important in the fight. Sign this petition to demand that South African Airways contribute to saving Africa's remaining elephants by reinstating its ban on ivory transportation. 

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