Some travel during their vacations. Ian Somerhalder goes to Washington to testify in defense of African elephants.
The “Vampire Diaries’” star spoke before the House Committee on Natural Resources on Tuesday, urging the American government to tighten the ban on ivory products and illegal poaching of elephants.
“In my previous testimony I called attention to several priority global species but today the plight of the elephant demands our undivided attention,” he said referencing the first time he spoke before the committee three years ago. “They are simply in crisis. Quiet frankly there’s no way to even overstate how catastrophic the last few years have been to these elephants because now they are under threat as they’ve never been before by agents of transnational crime rings and terrorist organizations who are mutilating helpless animals and murdering park rangers on a scale not seen since the International Ivory Ban went into effect.”
Somerhalder also mentioned how in 2012 alone it is estimated that 30,000 African elephants were killed for their tusks. In the last decade Central Africa has lost more than half of their elephants.
“Looking around the world at these wildlife,” he said, “it’s abundantly clear that humans have benefited from nature in so many ways but have also brought many species to the brink of extinction.”
Speaking on behalf of his not for profit, The Ian Somerhalder Foundation, the actor and activist warned the congressmen that “the situation is dire” and that at the current rate, elephants will be extinct in 10 years.
Somerhalder reassured them that the American public is interested in the cause because whenever he talks about it on social media, the response is immense. His point was proven as he excitedly tweeted before going in for his testimony.
“SO cool-about to testify in DC as a megaphone for our united fight to protect our endangered species.Tune in PLS!,” he wrote before his time to speak. The tweet got over two thousand retweets and 3.5 thousand favorites.
Way to go, Ian!
You can watch his entire testimony below.