After recently joining the Wildlife Conservation Society’s ‘96 Elephants’ campaign, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently sent a clear message to all ivory poachers out there. He and a team of explosive technicians blew up a confiscated elephant tusk as a statement that illegal ivory trade needs to stop.
The tradition of crushing ivory was started by the Wildlife Conservation Society in association with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and animal rights groups in New York City’s Times Square last June, when about a ton of ivory was blown into tiny pieces. The move was designed to raise the public awareness about the 96 African elephants that are slaughtered for their tusks every single day.
Nevertheless, at that time Schwarzenegger couldn’t make it to the event but he did expressed his support on Twitter where he wrote he would like to chat with those who “think it’s okay to kill 96 of these beauties a day.” The tweet went viral in less than 24 hours.
Since then, the former California governor kept campaigning for the lives of African elephants and made efforts to curb ivory demand. Ivory trafficking is a major issue in Africa since it contributes to local instability. With money gained from ivory, criminal syndicates sponsor illegal drug and firearm market, which further fuel political and social unrest.
Currently, the 96 Elephants campaign is backed by 225 groups that try to raise awareness on the issue in the media and on public policy realms. With Arnold on board, things may soon accelerate since people know and trust him. And, he arrived just in time since several members of Congress plan to attach a new rider to an annual funding bill which could undermine wildlife protections in the U.S.
Plus, Schwarzenegger is not new to conservationist efforts. During his tenure as California gov he signed off historic legislation that made other states become green with envy. But ever since he left office, he was a central piece of local and state efforts through policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions worldwide under his R20: Regions of Climate Action.
Arnold is also producer of an Emmy-winning documentary series on the effects of global warming on people across the world. In the next season, Schwarzenegger plans to go to China and raise awareness on the country’s rampant air pollution.
Recently, he produced a short clip about blowing up a gigantic ivory tusk as a symbol of the fight against global demand for the precious material.
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