A free, new mobile app allows people to report suspected illegal ivory sales in the United States.
African and Asian elephants are both protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act but have continued to be hunted illegally, shot and hacked to death globally for their ivory tusks.
The ‘i of the Elephant’ App, available on both Apple and Android, is the brainchild of Biologists Without Borders and Founder Sue Orloff. The nonprofit’s mission is to protect threatened species and habitats through scientific research. The organization also connects wildlife biologists to projects in under resourced areas that need experts.
The nonprofit estimates that at least 60 elephants are killed every day to make ivory jewelry, ornaments, and other products — an unacceptable development given that “only elephants need ivory.”
The app’s easy-to-navigate system allows people to submit reports including the name and address or URL of the shop hosting the products, photos of the product being sold, and an open space for a description of the product.
Users can choose to submit anonymously.
“It makes it easy for you to take action against the most urgent threat to elephant survival — the illegal trade in ivory — and be part of the solution,” the app’s description reads. “Without our help, elephants in the wild could be extinct within our lifetime.”
Submitted reports may be given to wildlife authorities for investigation, the app’s description notes.
Orloff hopes that the app, as a community action tool, will compel sellers to be more responsible and also enable consumers to choose environmentally-conscious retailers and products.