TUSIMAME | Save the Elephants
‘TUSIMAME’ is a powerhouse song about saving Africa’s elephants. It brings together talented artists including South Sudan’s Emmanuel Jal, Tanzania’s Vanessa Mdee, Congo’s Syssi Managa and Juliani Kenya. TUSIMAME first debuted in March 2015 at the resident of US Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec. The pan-African musical stand against the destruction of Africa’s heritage and its elephants is part of We Want Peace’s (WWP) #StandForElephants campaign.
‘In 1970, there were approximately 1.5 million elephants residing in Africa. Today there are fewer than 500,000. An average of 90 elephants are slaughtered every day and if this continues, there will be no African elephants left in the next 200 years’ said Emmanuel Jal. ‘Music is one of the world’s most powerful tools when it comes to provoking emotion and inspiring real change. We need to take responsibility of our eco-system, and our nature, and elephants are a beautiful and crucial part of that nature’.
The situation is particularly alarming in Tanzania, according to wildlife trade monitoring group TRAFFIC. It’s estimated that the elephant population has declined from 109,051 in 2009 to 43,330 in 2014.
USIMAME’ — meaning stand up — was filmed in partnership with WildAid in Kenya at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust near Nairobi. AOC has fostered an elephant at the trust and you can, too.
Ivory sales are illegal internationally since 1989 and in most developed countries around the world. China is the largest market for illegal ivory, but sadly the United States is the second largest market.
New York Crushes A Ton of Ivory
On Friday June 19, illegal elephant ivory was put on display and then destroyed in the center of Times Square in New York City. Elephant poaching is soaring according to conservation groups, as a pound of ivory can fetch $1,500 on the black market. Hari Sreenivasan reports for PBS. A crowd of about 1500 gathered to bear witness as the crushing machine, which resembled a trash-collecting truck, destroyed a ton of ivory.
Victor Gordon Sentenced
Much of the ivory in the form of carved statues and trinkets came from a 2009 raid on a Philadelphia art store owned by Victor Gordon. As part of his guilty plea agreement, Gordon paid $150,000 and was sentenced to 30 months in prison by a federal judge earlier this month. Eight West Africans have also been prosecuted in what officials call Operation Scratchoff.
Carbon Dating & the 1989 Ban
Because ivory dating before 1989 is technically legal in much of the world, proving the pedigree of elephant tusks has been a challenge for law enforcement. However, in 2013 Utah researchers developed a new application of a technique known as ‘bomb-curve 1c dating’ that allows officials to ascertain the carbon in both collagen and the mineral apatite within ivory to provide an age of death of the animal from which the ivory originated, writes The Guardian.
The study’s lead author, Kevin Uno, a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said: “We’ve developed a tool that allows us to determine the age of a tusk or piece of ivory, and this tells us whether it was acquired legally. Our dating method is affordable for government and law enforcement agencies and can help tackle the poaching and illegal trade crises.”