I celebrated World Wildlife Day, in part, by looking at photos of elephants. (Perhaps not the most productive or proactive way to stop wildlife crime.) I love elephants. Unfortunately most of the elephants in the photos were in captivity, and mostly in circuses. Melissa Shook (melissashook.com), San Francisco, 1967 (85.1998) Weegee (1899-1968), [Circus Elephant]. ca. 1944 (2137.1993) Toby Old (tobyold.com), Orange County Fair, Middletown, New York, 1989 (71.1995) Sol Libsohn (1914-2001), Circus Elephants at a Parade, Pennsylvania, 1946 (163.1983)
Although everyday should be wildlife day, March 3d is officially World Wildlife Day: “an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to people. At the same time, the Day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.” (un.org) Marilyn Bridges, Elephants, Zambia, (2013.111.15)
One of the most barbaric and tragic wildlife crimes is the slaughter of elephants for their ivory tusks. “Tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year for their ivory tusks.” (worldwildlife.org) “In 2011 alone, an estimated twenty-five thousand African elephants were killed for their ivory; this comes to almost seventy a day, or nearly three an hour.” (Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker, July 7, 2014) Arthur Rothstein (1915-1985), Elephants, Kenya, 1970 (216.1989)
Save everything. Start with the elephants.