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The endangered elephants of Africa have an unlikely hero: Billy Joel.

20 years from now, this scene could be looking a LOT different.There's a big ol' chance that there won't be elephants at Pride Rock!**and also on the actual, real, nonfiction continent of Africa.

When I was a kid, I was very worried about elephants going extinct.

But then I thought they were OK! Turns out, NO. I was wrong to not remain vigilant.

But turns out another relic of my childhood ...


... has been on the case all along!

Legendary musician Billy Joel has reminded me that the elephant problem is still very real.

Mr. Pianoman loves to tickle the ivories, but he's NOT COOL with murdering the ivories. The ivory in elephant tusks is the reason for a lot of elephant deaths.

Billy Joel has a stronger relationship with ivory and elephants than most folks because ... pianos!

Pianos traditionally were made with ivory keys. And if there is one thing Billy Joel is an expert on, it's gotta be pianos.

He says music should never be used as an excuse to destroy a species.

He made this statement on his website:

"I am a piano player. And I realize that ivory piano keys are preferred by some pianists.

But a preference for ivory keys does not justify the slaughter of 96 elephants every day.There are other materials which can be substituted for piano keys. But magnificent creatures like these can never be replaced.

Music must never be used as an excuse to destroy an endangered species.Music should be a celebration of life — not an instrument of death."



Elephant populations in Africa have declined by 60% since 1978.

Their habitats are disappearing, and they're being hunted and slaughtered for their tusks. (Don't Google it! It will make you sad.) 96 elephants die each day!

Even more scary, biologists are now saying that if the hunting and slaughter of elephants continues at this rate, elephants could be extinct in 20 years in Africa.

Elephants could be extinct in Africa in 20 years.

Yep.

The majestic and awesome animals who scientists are certain feel deep emotion when they are grieving and who literally mourn when they lose a family member could be gone.

There are things you can do.

Call your congressperson, visit 96elephants.org, go hug an elephant... And perhaps the easiest and most effective way? Just talk about it. Knowledge is power!

More people simply need to know that elephants are on the verge of extinction in Africa. These elephants need more people to know they're at risk.

20 years is not that far away.


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With permission from Sarah Cooper.

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@johnfluenzer/TikTok

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All photos by Amanda Jette, used with permission.

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It started with a simple, sincere question from a mother of an 11-year-old boy.

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