This elephant crying is the saddest Christmas advert ever made
Unfortunately, animal cruelty and endangerment is an issue which is ever-present in our world, but there are reasons why the subject is being talked about at great length at the moment. The World Wildlife Fund has just released a new advert for Christmas about how these issues affect African elephants, to challenge the recent ruling made against animal sentience in the UK, as well as Donald Trump's view that hunting trophies are permissible.
In the UK, MPs recently voted to reject the inclusion of animal sentience, which is the view that animals feel emotion and pain, into the Brexit bill. The move was greatly criticized by animal rights activists, who stated that the vote undermined environment secretary Michael Gove's pledge to prioritise these rights during the withdrawal from the European Union.
This issue has also come up in the states recently, as the Trump administration announced it would reverse the ban on trophy imports from Zimbabwe that had been imposed by the Obama administration. Two days later, however, Trump walked this back after tweeting that elephant hunting is a "horror show".
To put things in perspective, the WWF released an advert that focuses on the plight of the African elephant, as part of their Just Like Us campaign. In stark contrast to the more sentimental advertisements that pop up in the Christmas period, this video shows an elephant weeping as it sees one of its herd become a victim of the ivory industry.
The advert uses CGI to portray real events that have happened across the Savannah, showing brief glimpses of an elephant being gunned down by poachers for its ivory tusks. The hope is that this ad will pull on people's heartstrings, encouraging them to stand up for these poor elephants and end the illegal trade. You can watch the full, heartbreaking video below:
The charity states that more African elephants are being killed than are being born, due to the high demand for ivory. In fact, around 55 elephants are killed a day for their tusks, using the valuable material to create ornaments and trinkets.
"Like all of us, elephants vary in many characteristics, emotions and personalities," WWF chief executive Tanya Steele said, "The impact of poaching not only threatens the future of elephants, but it is strongly felt among them and leaves a lasting impression. Time and time again we see elephants grieve for those tragically killed."
On their website, the WWF provides a detailed explanation of the issue they are hoping to solve:
"Together, we’re helping train rangers and law enforcers, deploying new technology, working with local communities, tackling consumer demand for wildlife products, and working with governments to change legislations.
"The illegal wildlife trade is a huge international organised crime, and the methods used by poachers and smugglers are becoming more and more sophisticated. It’s threatening to undo decades of conservation work.
"In Asia, elephants have disappeared from approximately 85% of their historic range. While in Africa, their range has shrunk by over half since 1979. Poaching is an ever-present threat, with around 20,000 African elephants being killed each year."
If you adopt an elephant or otherwise support the WWF, you can help the charity to protect habitats, restore degraded biological corridors, train and equip anti-poaching patrols, as well as fund their work with local communities to monitor elephant movement and reduce human-elephant conflict. If you're interested in supporting their cause, you should check out their website.