HOUSTON, TX – These days, it’s the elephant in the room — ivory trafficking.
A 50-year-old elephant was killed in Kenya last month for his ivory tusks. He’s one of 20,000 elephants that will be slaughtered this year by poachers to make a buck. What you might not know is: this isn’t just an Asia-Africa problem.
“A lot of that ivory comes into the Port of Houston, so this is a problem very close to home,” says Truman Bell, Community Relations Manager with ExxonMobil.
The Houston Zoo and the ExxonMobil Conservation Program have teamed up to give us their 4-1-1 on the evils of poaching and the benefits of conservation. Some of their items on display were donated. Others were seized by Customs agents at the Port.
“You follow the money trail on a problem like this,” explains Bell. “Poachers are going to sell where they can make money. We have money in the United States. I’m not saying this is where the problem is, but part of it is coming right through here and going to other parts of the world.”
To do your part is easy, don’t buy ivory.
“There are alternatives to buying ivory there’s a nut that has the same texture and feel as ivory. It looks exactly the same. It’s less expensive. It’s great for people to own if they’re looking for something that has that beautiful texture, they can use that instead of purchasing ivory,” says intern Karli Agrodnian.
One hundred years ago there were about 10 million elephants, now there’s about half a million. If the world doesn’t do something quickly one day soon, the only elephants you’ll be able to see will be in a zoo.