The feature on the dire situation with wild elephants in last week's giveaway certainly struck a chord with many readers. It's not just elephants, but rhinos too which are hunted for their horns and used as traditional medicine. The illegal poaching has become so bad lately there is a real risk these creatures will be extinct in parts of Africa in the next few years.

Tagua Bead Necklace

The escalated killing of elephants has led to Prince William's announcement that he wants the Royal Family's ivory collection to be destroyed.  While such a high profile repudiation of ivory will no doubt have an impact, destroying ivory will likely not save the elephants.  It may well increase the value of ivory and redouble the efforts of poachers in search of even more profit.  Going after poachers works to a certain extent but the way to really end this awful trade is to stop the demand in the first place.

Changing the mindset of the people driving the poaching is not easy.  Increasingly wealthy Chinese consumers buy ivory not only because it is a status symbol but ironically as an investment like buying gold. They have to be educated and convinced buying ivory is cruel, morally wrong and a bad investment.

A very sad Lori said, " I never knew that it was so traumatic to elephants and they have emotions like humans."  So please do your part and help educate others on this subject. Another reader, Caroline, shared this wonderful post on elephant empathy.  One story tells of a working elephant who refused to put a log into a hole until its mahout came, saw and shooed away a sleeping dog in the hole. The other is this incredible video showing how many adult elephants teamed up to rescue a baby elephant which had fallen into a muddy pond/river and couldn't get out.

The winner of this giveaway will thus get the chance to make some awesome tagua jewelry and help spread the word about the elephants' plight.

I numbered all the eligible entries and hopped over to where I got the random number generator there to pick the winning number.  It was assigned to Danielle M.  Congratulations!

BBC : Uncovering China's Illegal Ivory Trade
The Guardian : Royal Ivory : Why Prince William is Right

Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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