This ivory is used to make piano keys, chopsticks, and all manner of other trinkets. The message of the event was clear: ivory, its sale, and the market for it must be crushed, beginning with this most literal of steps.
For a brief moment yesterday, Times Square stood still. Even the world's most famous cluster of dazzling super signs, towering over Broadway, could not compete with the simple message that on this day, we all stand for elephants.
Africa's elephants face an unprecedented poaching siege. It's a crisis of global significance that the U.S. government is taking action against -- and one in which safari ecotourism plays an important role, undergirding the value for local communities of keeping elephants alive.
Why the renewed concern, when elephants have been killed for their ivory for centuries? It's both because elephants are very near to being at the end of their rope and because nowadays, poaching is a far cry from being a poor man's means of feeding his family.