“YOUNG PEOPLE! TELL YOUR PARENTS THIS IS BULLS—T! A MAGNIFICENT CREATURE KILLED?! FOR WHAT?! RIP YOU AMAZING CREATURE!!” Ian tweeted earlier this week, along with a link to the CNN article reporting the death of Satao, a beloved 45-year-old elephant killed for his tusks earlier this month. Satao, who lived in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, was found dead from poison arrows with two massive holes where his tusks — which were so large they touched the ground — used to be.
Tusks are worth thousands of dollars in the illegal ivory trade that has doubled internationally since 2007, according to CNN. An estimated 30,000 elephants are killed annually for their tusks in recent years. The United States is one of the top markets for ivory, along with China, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The state of New York is currently discussing a bill that would ban nearly all ivory sales. New York is the country’s largest importer of ivory, and supporters hope the legislation will encourage similar laws elsewhere.
This cause is one close to Ian’s heart. His non-profit, the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, has a page devoted to educating others on the dangers of the ivory trade, stating: “The threat to the African elephant presented by the ivory trade is unique to the species. Larger, long-lived, slow-breeding animals, like the elephant, are more susceptible to overhunting than other animals. They cannot hide, and it takes many years for an elephant to grow and reproduce...While elephant populations are increasing in parts of southern and eastern Africa, other African nations report a decrease of their elephant populations by as much as two-thirds.”
We’re glad to know that Ian is spreading awareness about this devastating issue!
Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!