Op-Ed: Local Clothing Company Raises Money to Fight Poaching

Ever since I was little, I have been told that I was to go to school, then go to college, then get a job, and then retire. And that is how many people live their lives, which is completely fine. This mindset, however, can be limiting when kids and teens who want to make change earlier in their lives don't get the support they need.

Two years ago, I felt empty and bored with doing the same old schoolwork every day of my life for eight consecutive years at the time.

Then one day, I was sitting on the couch at home watching The Ivory Game, a documentary that revealed the complexities of the elephant poaching crisis and the ivory trading market. I remember crying and reaching for tissues as I watched an elephant rot after it was slaughtered for its ivory. I remember hearing a voice deep inside of me, calling out to me, telling me I had to change this problem.

Well here I am on the same couch two years later typing up an opinion piece, except this time around, I am 15 and the founder of Ivory Tees, an online clothing company that raises money to help save the elephants. What started as a little passion project of mine, turned into something much bigger when I started high school.

I realized that in this day and age with social media, we, whether you’re young or old, have the power to start movements on our own. Whether it’s small ripples or big waves.

In the past few years, I realized many of my friends and classmates were interested in helping the elephants with me. Since then, we’ve done photoshoots together and helped raise awareness about the elephant poaching crisis through social media so that Ivory Tees can reach its goal of helping end the immoral killing of elephants for ivory. I am very grateful for everyone who has supported Ivory Tees thus far.

With every journey, however, comes its challenges. A big issue that I have to be honest with you about is getting more individuals to want to be apart of the future we, Ivory Tees, envision where elephants and nature are protected and where humans become one with nature, not the villain to nature. Our sweatshirts and T-shirts are a symbol of this future, and I strongly urge you to join our mission.

On the flip side, Ivory Tees has had some successes as well. So far, Ivory Tees has fostered two baby elephant orphans through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), which is an organization dedicated to protecting the future of elephants and other wildlife. The DSWT has allowed us to fund the care of elephants that were victims of poaching. For example, our most recent fostered elephant Enkesha was stuck in a poacher’s wire snare with her trunk hanging by a thread. Fortunately, this dedicated organization was able to rescue Enkesha and resew her trunk back together.

This year, I hope that Ivory Tees can sell enough T-shirts to help fund anti-poaching technologies, such as conservation drones with thermographic cameras that can keep track of where elephants are and catch poachers. This technology would make it a lot cheaper, easier, and safer for anti-poaching units in the field.

The future of the elephants and Mother Nature is in our hands, your hands. Best put by National Geographic: “In a world of 7 billion, we need to start recognizing that we are not separate from nature. When we see ourselves as part of the landscape and part of nature, then saving nature is really about saving ourselves.”

It’s up to you to decide if you want to join us in our fight to save the elephants. Visit our website, buy a shirt, help save an elephant.

Angelina Lue, a Los Altos High sophomore and animal rights advocate, is the 15-year-old founder of Ivory Tees, an online clothing company that raises money to help save the elephants. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].

2 Comments

  1. The biggest market for illegal ivory, and rhino horn out side of Asia is right here in the San Francisco bay area .
    The shame of it all.
    Just as bad is the market for animals poached right here in the US. If you want to help stop it buy a hunting and or fishing license. That will fund more game wardens, and help restore wildlife habitat, and hatcheries’.

    I look forward to the time when grizzly bears and wolves’ again roam wild again with the coyotes in Golden Gate Park.

  2. > Then one day, I was sitting on the couch at home watching The Ivory Game, a documentary that revealed the complexities of the elephant poaching crisis and the ivory trading market.

    Yes, indeed. A serious and complex problem.

    Free range elephants don’t have a chance in a world with AK-47’s and millions of unrestrained hunter-gatherers.

    And, this is not the first time the world has faced such a problem. Buffalo Bill nearly wiped out the American Bison because the “wild game” was free for the taking.

    It’s because of Buffalo Bill and people like him that we have government “WIldlife Management” and hunting licenses.

    And, as far back as medieval Europe, it was illegal for peasants to take game on the kings land.

    I think the key to saving elephants, and whales, and other endangered game is to remove them from the dominion of the primitive, free-range hunter gatherers., and put them — or a survivable population — in the dominion of civilization.

    There is a paradox that people may have a hard time getting their heads around, but the survival of whales and elephants may require making them into “private property”.

    There is no shortage of cattle, or sheep, or goats, or pigs. There are billions of chickens on the face of the planet. NONE of them are endangered. They are all “private property” of herders.

    Civilization places a value on things that are valuable to civilization for a multitude of reasons. Foragers only value things that are of value for immediate consumption. For a forager, the value of killing the last elephant is just the same as the value of killing any elephant.

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