ELEPHANTS ARE ENGULFED IN A CRISIS
"The scale of poaching is a criminal horror." 25,000 elephants were slaughtered in Africa last year, just for their ivory tusks.
It is a war — poachers killing park rangers with their AK-47s, and... Vice versa — In some locations the policy is to shoot-on-sight, fire on poachers caught in the act, ruthless gangs driven by greed.
Poachers. Photo by Brent Stirton for National Geographic
I am going to produce a documentary to expose the ivory trade in the United States.
WHY DO THAT?
Because the ultimate goal is to engineer a major shfit in policy, to bring this issue to the general public - whereby ivory sales are banned in the U.S. That action will serve as a huge motivator to push for the total ban of ivory world-wide. So this documentary will serve as a tool, compelling in content - but also very specifically advocating a change in state and Federal law.
IF WE CAN STOP THE BUYING OF IVORY — THE KILLING WILL STOP.
This documentary is part of an overall strategy that includes a consortium of nonprofits and activists seeking to stop the ivory trade.
I am a documentary filmmaker, an environmental, and animal rights activist. Previous clients have included the United Nations as well as city organizations such as the Chicago Commission on Human Relations.
GOALS FOR THE DOCUMENTARY
1. Disrupt the status quo.
2. Produce this project with KQED, the PBS station in San Francisco.
3. Ultimately the goal with the project is to inject a strong voice into the information blood stream calling for a total ban on ivory sales in the United States.
4. Get the city of San Francisco behind the movement to ban the sale of ivory and support the change at the State level, return the law to its original spirit of 1976 and California’s groundbreaking vision to shut down the ivory trade.
5. The ultimate message: A total ban of ivory sales in the U.S. will send a strong message to the rest of the world - shut down the ivory trade!
EXTINCTION IS FOREVER
Not too long ago elephants numbered in the millions. The number is now down to about 350,000.
Elephants embrace. Photo by Michael Nichols/National Geographic
The international criminal cartel consists of rebels of all stripes, including Al-Qaeda, sweeping across sub Saharan Africa, raiding elephant habitats.
At a loss of 25,000 to 35,000 murdered each year – elephants face extinction in ten years or less.
This all happening despite a world-wide ban on the ivory trade put in place in 1989.
Simply put: too many nations are ignoring the mandate; corruption and greed rules the day.
WE'LL START WITH CALIFORNIA.
BUT WHY CALIFORNIA?
California had the foresight to first ban the import, and selling of ivory way back in 1976.
And yet —in 1983 the owners of a retail ivory store in San Francisco filed an appeal, gained the upper hand with permission to import and sell ivory; the court decision referencing to Federal law from 1977: ivory imported with permits could be sold.
But — In 1989 the United States totally banned the import of ivory. Can’t legally bring it in, but once here… it’s okay!
There is no federal law prohibiting the sale of ivory within our country.
Something has gone wrong.
IT IS VITAL TO UNDERSTAND —
Elephants have lives of their own, enjoy meaning unique to their existence on this planet. They are nations unto themselves, but they lack the capability to fight for their survival.
Photo from The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
ROLE OF THE ASIAN CONSUMER
There is a huge demand for ivory in countries such as Thailand, and especially China. The rising middle class in China has gotten into their heads that owning a piece of ivory will impress their neighbors. A fair-sized elephant tusk can weigh 150 pounds or more. One tusk could be worth nearly $200,000. Kill two elephants - well, you get the picture. Profits are in the billions.
WHAT YOUR CONTRIBUTION WILL HELP ACHIEVE
With your contribution, this project will bring into focus for the public the unacceptable state of affairs in regard to the ivory trade in the United States. The video will serve as a call to action that America totally ban the sale of ivory. This achievement will send a powerful signal to the rest of the world to act responsibly and do the same.
There's a lot of work to be done. So, please consider a contribution. Let's get started!
Reward #1. For $10 Your sticker for helping the cause. (4.5x3.6) Much love and gratitude! Know you supported something very good. Delivered during 2nd week of September.
REWARD #2. For 25 dollars, the limited edition poster. (11x17, glossy) Delivered during 2nd week of September.
REWARD #3. For 50 dollars, the Custom T-Shirt. Be sure to include your size, S,M, L. (International shipping not included) Delivered in September 2013
REWARD #4. For 100 dollars, the DVD plus your choice of either the poster OR the T-Shirt.
REWARD #5. For 500 dollars, the Poster, DVD when available following post production, and T-shirt (International shipping not included) Delivery of the poster and T-Shirt will be in September 2013. Be sure to include your size, S, M, L.
This will be a very focused investigative documentary involving undercover work, interviews with local individuals, shopkeepers, city, state and Federal officials. We will be working with the the Department of Fish and Wildlife in California and also with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species investigation team. The Environmental Investigation Agency may also provide research assistance and consultation.
Once we have the budget confirmed, we will start immediately. Production is slated to end at the end of 2013.
Runtime: Approximately one hour.
Format: High Definition Video 1920x1080p.
Audio: High resolution 24 bit/48krz.
Will go to cover trannsportation, production costs including salary for a crew of two, and post production, including the production of the DVD. The production team resides in the San Francisco Bay area where much of the production will occur. All necessary production video equipment is owned by the director which also helps greatly to keep this budget reasonable and well below what otherwise might be the case.
WATCH THE VIDEO - PLEASE HELP FUND THIS PROJECT!
Want more information: www.theivorytrade.com