By Julia Kemp
With only 40,000 to 50,000 elephants left in the wild, the world’s largest land animals have been classified as an endangered species. Both African and Asian elephants’ numbers have been declining at a massive rate for generations.
This endangerment can be attributed to the growing ivory trade. Ivory is harvested from the tusks of African and Asian elephants along with walruses, narwhals, hippopotamuses, etc.. Ivory trade has existed for thousands of years, tracing back all the way to ancient Egypt. However, with the invention of guns, the hunt for ivory increased, along with the slaughtering of the majestic animals. Though ivory hunting has been made illegal in many countries, people still trade ivory in domestic markets in Japan, China, Vietnam, and more. Along with the ivory trade, African and Asian elephants have been put at a great risk due to the increased need for palm oil. Palm oil plantation owners clear out elephant habitats, limiting the space for these elephants. Not only do palm oil companies clear out elephant habitats, but they contribute to the deforestation of tropical rainforests and endangerment of countless other species.
In order to help decrease the endangerment of African and Asian elephants, I recommend that you refrain from buying any ivory or palm oil products. Palm oil can be found in many everyday objects such as ice cream, snacks, cookies, bread, and so much more. Finding products without palm oil proves difficult, but the deforestation and endangerment of animals due to palm oil plantations is very important. I’ve added links to lists of products and brands that are palm oil free/almost free or that use sustainable palm oil. I hope that we can all come together to cautiously consume products that are not detrimental to our environment and the animals that we share our planet with.