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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.

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

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.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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The Schmidt family's Halloween photoshoot has become an annual tradition.

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According to People.com, Patti calls her sons home to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, every fall for a special Halloween photoshoot with Avery. And the results are nothing short of epic.

The Schmidt family started the tradition in 2017 with the boys dressing as the tinman, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion from "The Wizard of Oz." Avery, just a toddler at the time, was dressed as Dorothy, complete with adorable little ruby slippers.

The following year, the boys were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, and Avery was (of course) Princess Leia.

In 2019, they did a "Game of Thrones" theme. ("My husband and I were binge-watching (Game of Thrones), and I thought the boys as dragons would be so funny," Schmidt told TODAY.)

In 2020, they went as Princess Buttercup, Westley, Inigo Montoya, and Fezzik from "The Princess Bride."

Patti shared a video montage of each year's costume shoot—with accompanying soundtracks—on Instagram and TikTok. Watch:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."