Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee, legendary Grammy Award-winning drummer of Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, The Cult and Kings of Chaos, and International Fund For Animal Welfare (IFAW) supporter Matt Sorum has penned an open letter urging fellow musicians to support the U.S. government’s National Strategy for Combatting Wildlife Trafficking, which seeks to dramatically reduce the U.S. role in elephant poaching by enacting new rules on ivory trade.
Under the new regulations, owners of ivory objects would still be allowed to own their items, or give them as a non-commercial gift. However, owners (including musicians with instruments that include ivory) would not be allowed to sell them without removing and replacing the ivory first. Additionally, musicians would need to secure proper documentation before they travel with their instruments overseas.
As Sorum noted in the letter, “This is an issue that needs the attention and support of the music community. We need to be a part of the solution, not the problem. As much as we all love our instruments, they are in the end just things – not worth contributing to the demise of a species.”
Elephants are being poached for their ivory at an alarming rate. The elephant population in Africa has declined up to 95 percent in the last century, and on average, poachers are killing one elephant every fifteen minutes. Some populations are well on the path to extinction.
“Elephants are in crisis. This rule will bring about meaningful action to reduce the amount of illegal ivory smuggled into the country, while helping to protect this dynamic and most intelligent species. But we need the support of many stakeholders to ensure its success,” added Jeff Flocken, North American Regional Director, IFAW. “We thank Matt for bringing attention to this important issue and hope fellow musicians will band together to protect elephants.”
Sorum is among many celebrities supporting the ivory sale ban. In April, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Goodall and Dave Matthews, alongside a coalition of businesses and conservation organizations, signed a letter to the Administration commending them for their actions to protect elephants.