Flightlog, Licensed under Creative Commons and used with permission

Elephants in Amboseli National Park, Kenya.

Tweets for Trunks

Social media campaign saving wildlife in Africa

On November 16, President Donald Trump reversed a ban made by former president Barack Obama, which prohibits the bringing of elephant kill trophies into the United States from Zambia and Zimbabwe. The reversal of this ban could essentially encourage the poaching of the elephants and increases the motive to display ones’s pride in a disturbing fashion.

Before the reversal of this ban was even known to the larger public, Trump was receiving backlash from celebrities and wildlife enthusiasts who believed that the reversal was unnecessary and cruel. As elephants are already on the endangered species list, feelings of anger and concern moved many to work on the elephants’ behalf,  campaigning and fundraising to protect these animals.

One passionate campaigner was comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. On the November 16 airing of The Ellen Show, DeGeneres addressed this matter by stating, “Last night President Trump reversed one of Barack Obama’s policies which prohibited hunters from bringing elephant trophies into the United States. So basically, by lifting this ban, he is encouraging Americans to kill elephants.”

President Trump’s holding off reflects how powerful and effective social media can be on matters that are important to the public.

— Abby Joyce

She went on to say, “Elephants show compassion, sympathy, social intelligence, self-awareness, and they are excellent at learning abilities, all the things that I have yet to see in this president.” It is clear how she feels about Trump’s decisions.

Degeneres went on to talk about the importance and uniqueness of elephants, while poking fun at President Trump.

On November 16, DeGeneres tweeted “I’m determined to do something about this.”  On the same day she also tweeted, “Compassion, social intelligence, decisiveness, patience, wisdom. These are all qualities found in elephants and not found in the people allowing them to be killed for trophies.” DeGeneres spoke about the importance and value of elephants, and that it is despicable to kill and use them for trophies.

Degeneres, a lover of animals, created a campaign in which for every repost of a photo she created, using the hashtag #BeKindToElephants, a donation would be made to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which works to save wildlife in Africa.

The very next day, with all of Degeneres’s hard work, and the support and passion of the public regarding Obama’s Ban, Trump announced via Twitter on November 17 that he would “put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts. Under study for years. Will update soon with Secretary Zinke. Thank you!”

President Trump’s holding off reflects how powerful and effective social media can be on matters that are important to the public. This matter of the treatment of elephants was important to many animal lovers. They were willing to fight back against Trump’s ban reversal because they felt a connection to the creatures and wanted to protect them at all costs.

The immense power that was created from this campaign is positive reassurance. It shows how impacting social media can be. May this inspire others to use the power that they have from social media to deal with other problems in the world. To not only help this cause, but many others that take place also. Social media has the power to be used to support causes that are important to people, and inspire them to make the change they want to see.

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