VIDEO: Actress Kristin Bauer throws personal ivory trinkets on crush pile in Denver

True Blood actress Kristin Bauer van Straten joined IFAW to witness the destruction of US Fish and Wildlife’s ivory stockpile in Denver. This is a guest blog Kristin is sharing about her experience. --ED

For the first time ever, the US government destroyed their stockpile of illegal, seized ivory. Millions of dollars worth of murdered elephants. Ivory taken from illegal trafficking, just like heroin or guns. They crushed it, turned it to gravel.

A few ounces of that crush was mine. I threw in an ivory statue, and an ivory bracelet brought back from Japan after WWII by my beloved father. He gave it to my mother, but it was eventually passed down to me.

Even though I loved my father, and I love my mother, this heirloom is just a thing. It is not life. In fact, this trinket was made at a cost of a beautiful creature’s life.

SEE ALSO: Partnering with US ivory crush in Denver, urging more countries to destroy their illegal stockpiles

I know my father would have thrown that bracelet in the crusher too if he saw what was happening today. After all, he was the one who taught me to value life, all life, and to experience awe in nature.

There were many moments of disbelief that day as we heard the numbers.

Elephants are really dying: One every 15 minutes, 96 a day, 30,000 a year. In less than 10 years, elephants may be gone from Africa. It is heart breaking.

This can’t be happening. But it is.

I also had moments of inspiration as I listened to the incredible speakers from many NGOs from the US to China to Africa. They each are working tirelessly with so little funds in comparison to the billions of illegal dollars the black market earns from death. The hearts and minds of these incredible people were truly inspiring.

I vacillated between despair and hope for two days.

As I looked at the tons of ivory in front of us the other day in Denver, I couldn’t help but wish that the elephants knew that there are some people working very hard, some even risking their lives, to save them. I stood at this historic event alongside many people I respect a great deal, and I wanted to give my all. I did interviews. I took photos. I filmed it for my documentary.

We’ll need more of us.

The people I got to rub elbows with in Denver have been giving it their all for many, many years, but it’s just not enough. Unless more people weigh in and make a concrete choice on if they will allow elephants to go extinct on their watch, the largest beings on Earth will disappear as if they were the tiniest.

I’d like to see more of us make the choice: Ivory or elephants?

Make it now and make it loudly. We must decide, and we must support our heroic NGOs and we must tell our government we need an all-out ban on the ivory trade.

We’ve reached a tipping point.

We need your help.

Tell everyone. If we do this enough and with persistence, the elephants may even hear it.

--Kristin Bauer van Straten

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Experts

Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Regional Director, South Asia