Over the past 34 years the African Elephant population has declined to heartbreakingly low figures, primarily due to the ivory trade. There are said to be around 470,000 African Elephants left in the wild, a painfully sharp contrast to the 1,300,000 which roamed the wilderness in 1979.
In 1989, a worldwide ban on ivory trade was approved by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). Levels of poaching fell dramatically, and black market prices of ivory slumped, it seemed CITES had saved the African Elephant…
However, in 1997 CITES down-listed the elephant species into a ‘less endangered’ status due to the decrease in ivory demand. Just a year later a Taiwanese port seized tusks and ivory totalling a weight of 1.45 tonnes. In 2002, it was agreed that Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe could export 60 tonnes of ivory, subject to condition, which resulted in 108 tonnes to Japan and China, this finally took place in 2008.
Many predicted the sale might fuel an increasing appetite for ivory among the growing Chinese middle class and as poaching rates are now the highest they’ve been since 1989; this prediction was sadly very accurate. It was official; the levels of poaching and illegal trade had rocketed once again and were spiraling out of control.
The links between the ivory trade and the illegal killing of elephants are clear to see and unless action is taken based on informative evidence, African Elephants will be gone within our lifetimes.
About the Campaign
iWorry is a campaign by
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT).
The DSWT is a front-line organisation working every day in the field to protect Africa’s wildlife and habitats. We are not traditionally a campaigning organisation, but the severity of the danger caused by the escalating ivory trade will only be countered if we all stand up for elephants together.
At the DSWT we love elephants and we can’t imagine a world without them, but if we don’t all come together to stand up for elephants and add our voice to those fighting against the ivory trade, the African Elephant species could be lost forever.
As long as there is a market for ivory, elephants will be cruelly killed for their tusks. We want everyone who loves elephants to Say NO to ivory and stand up for elephants.
The DSWT iWorry campaign aims to raise awareness of the urgent need to stop all trade in ivory internationally, in order to protect the future of elephants.
Speak up, sign our petition now!
Help us bring an end to ivory trade
The current levels of ivory poaching are leading African Elephants to extinction by 2025.
Add your name to the list of people around the world saying NO to ivory. With your signatures, we can urge government leaders around the world to ban the ivory trade permanently.
The more names we secure, the louder we can shout!
Our plans for 2013
Video and social media will be used to reach out to people in ivory consumer countries and inform them as to the stark truth behind every piece of ivory and that any person that buys ivory has blood on their hands.
We the people have it in our power to come together and fight for this intelligent, gentle and social mammal. There is hope and with your support we can still save the species. Please sign, share and connect.
Thank you again for your all your wonderful support and efforts at this crucial time for elephants.
Download and print off the petition here - ask friends and family to sign.
Speak up for elephants
Write to your Chinese Ambassador. As the largest consumer for ivory in the world we need to urge China to ban their trade in ivory, permanently. We have compiled an international list of Chinese Ambassadors which is available here.
Download a template letter to send to your Chinese Ambassador or copy the text into an email.
Click here to download the effective iWorry poster, share it with friends or print off and spread the word.
Stand up for elephants
We will be holding an International March Day outside Chinese Embassies around the world urging China to take action and to tackle the illegal ivory trade - but we can't do this alone.
The International March Day will take place on Friday 4th October 2013 to tie in with World Animal Day. The following cities will be hosting the march: London, Munich, Washington DC, San Francisco, Toronto, Nairobi, Pretoria and Rome.
We are looking for eager and enthusiastic individuals to take part in these peaceful demonstrations. Please email us if this sounds like you.
Never buy, sell or display ivory
Buying products made from ivory, or displaying ivory items, increases sale and demand for ivory products and continues to drive the trade. Disposing of existing ivory possessions in a way which ensures they will not go back into circulation, will help to stop the continuation of the ivory trade. Many people are unaware that ‘new’ illegal ivory is often passed off as ‘old’ ivory from stockpiles, so never buy or sell any ivory.
What to do if you think you may own ivory
If you think you own an ornament or a piece of jewellery for example which is made of ivory, we suggest taking it either to a jewellers or local museum to check whether it is in fact made of ivory or not. We encourage those who want to eradicate the piece of ivory to please safely burn it. By selling the ivory (even if you are planning to donate the funds to charity) you are fueling demand by allowing the ivory to be bought and sold again.
Spread the word
Many people are unaware of the severity of the threats facing the African Elephant. Talk to your friends and family to help raise awareness of the problem. Encouraging support for frontline conservation charities such as the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust will help give elephants their best chance at surviving the current threats and flourishing in the wild in future.
Foster an elephant
The elephants rescued by the DSWT are reliant upon them for up to 10 years, before they choose to return to the wild. Each elephant requires a stockade, the care of specialist keepers who stay with the orphans 24 hours a day, milk formula every 3 hours and additional nutrients and medicines where necessary. The full cost of care for each elephant is approximately $500 USD each month averaged across all the age groups, with the youngest Nursery calves costing $800 USD to receive the very best care. You can foster a baby elephant to become part of the elephant’s extended human family, with your donation of $50 USD a year contributing much needed funds to the DSWT Orphans Project. Foster parents receive a personalised certificate, monthly email update of their elephant, photographs and more.
Donate as little or as much as you are able to today to help the DSWT carry out valuable anti-poaching work in Kenya, and help to care for the elephants already affected by poaching.
Keep up to date on the latest ivory news from around the world.
Make Richard Symonds' 'Extinction is forever...' image your Facebook banner on timeline.
Many thanks to Richard Symonds for this design.
CITES update for iWorry
The 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) took place on 3rd - 14th March 2013.
Please read our update: See here.
Read and share 'Ivory Apocalypse' - Africa Geographic's compelling and detailed report by Science Editor Tim Jackson as he attempts to get to grips with the current crisis decimating Earth's wonderful creatures.
- Ivory Apocalypse
- What was actually done by CITES to stop the killing of elephants across Africa?
- The 16th Conference of the Parties to CITES came to an end and the question on everyone’s lips is; what measures did they take to protect elephants?
- iWorry petition presented to Secretary-General John Scanlon at CITES
- Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) seize $17,400 worth of ivory
The DSWT re-integration centres in the Tsavo National Park are where the older elephants go to learn the skills they will need when they are ready to return to the wild. The 61 elephants in our care are a constant reminder of the threats currently facing elephants. We wanted to add our voice to the many voices of other NGOs campaigning for an end to the ivory trade, such as IFAW, EIA, Born Free, WWF and more, and help raise awareness of the problems and how each and every one of us needs to speak up for elephants, while we have the chance to save them.
- National Geographic magazine Blood Ivory report
- New York Times Ivory article
- EIA Blood Ivory report
- DSWT Anti-Poaching Updates
The iWorry name and conceptual design was created by designer, Abhishek Desai. Abhishek came up with the idea iWorry for a global poster design competition that allowed the designer to create an identity surrounding an issue that required international attention. Having visited the DSWT's Nairobi Elephant Orphanage, Abhishek was aware of the illegal ivory issue and wanted to create a design that put the illegal ivory trade in the minds of the public. We are deeply grateful that Abhishek then offered us permission to use his design, at a time when we were developing plans to launch a global campaign on then ivory issue. Abhishek's base design and the iWorry name have formed the visual basis for our campaign and we hope you will join us in supporting the campaign.