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1Battle For The ElephantsBattle For The ElephantsRichard DuarteCal Poly Pomona
BATTLE FOR THE ELEPHANTS2One of the world's most magnificent and mesmerizing animals is in considerable danger and on the way to extinction. The elephant’s tusks, which are pure ivory, are in extraordinary mandate and can be sold for a lot of money (Kelley, 2013). The most prevalent ivory demands are in China where the people there flourish off ivory luxury goods created from ivory and the ancient cultural tradition of ivory (Kelley, 2013). In fact, concurring with the documentary PBS National Geographic 2013 Battle For Elephants, " 80 percent of the Chinese middle class own at least one or more pieces of ivory and further some 84 percent say they intend to buy ivory in the future" (PBS, Battle For Elephants). The National Geographic created a documentary titled "Battle For The Elephants(BFE)" where journalists Bryan Christy and Aidan Hartley go undercover and inside the criminal system to discover what is behind the ivory's supply and demand (Kelley, 2013). This documentary shows just how valuable the ivory industry is and Christy discovers how illegal trade of ivory is taking place and Christy even gets camera crew to film the historic even of Tanzania, where they store the world's largest stock pile of elephant tusks, 90 metric tons valued at 50 million (Kelley, 2013). However, although the idea of killing these innocent animals seems wrong, there is more to it, the culture of the Chinese see ivory as more than just an object and it is culturally valuable to them. According to the PBS. National. Geographic. 2013.Batte for the elephants, "CITES has found that 70 something elephants are poached each day". Today as few as 400,000 elephants areexistent on this planet (Guilford, 2013) and according to Jeffrey Gettleman who wrote the article "Elephants Dying in Epic Frenzy as Ivory Fuels Wars and Profit" in 2012, "Last year, poaching levels in Africa were at their highest since international monitors began keeping detailed records in 2002. And 2011 broke the record for the amount of illegal ivory seized worldwide, at 38.8 tons(equaling the tusks from more than 4,000 dead elephants)". Though, according to China and their2
BATTLE FOR THE ELEPHANTS3culture, there can be an ethical rationalization of why they are pursuing elephants. Brian Christy, in the documentary "PBS.National.Geographic.2013.BFE", speaks with ivory shop owners and discovers that it is not just ivory to the people of China, to the Chinese it is a way to re-join and connect to their ancestors, which is highly valuable to them and dates back centuries. Also, in theBuddhist culture elephants represent to them happiness and joy and they even believe the elephant smiles as it dies knowing it's ivory is being used (PBS, 2013). Actually, to them, the