In a new video, actor and former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sends a message to ivory poachers in a way fitting of the action icon.
A video released by The Wildlife Conservation Society’s 96 Elephants campaign opens with an aviator-donning Schwarzenegger clutching a tusk while standing in front of an army tank.
“Hey, stop killing 96 elephants every day just because of this ivory. Lets get rid of the demand once and for all,” he says.
Like many Schwarzenegger one-liners, what follows is a large explosion. The camera quickly cuts to the tusk, rigged to blow, and with a press of the button, the ivory is instantly obliterated. Like any decent action movie, some slow-mo footage of the destruction follows.
While it’s rarely done as sensationally as in this clip, many governments also have destroyed ivory seized from poachers with the purpose of eliminating them from the market. According to WCS, China, the US, Kenya, and several other African countries have collectively destroyed more than 42 tons of ivory this year, using through crushing or burning it.
However, some critics have questioned if ivory destruction is effective in driving down demand, with some even believing it may have the opposite effect.
However, celebrity campaigns to tackle the illegal wildlife trade seem to be making an impact. Basketball star Yao Ming is credited for driving down the shark fin trade in his home country of China, while Prince William, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Tom Hardy have all expressed commitment to ending the poaching of threatened species. WCS’s campaign is also employing rock star Billy Joel in its 96 Elephants campaign. although Schwarzenegger appears to be the main spokesman.
“We are extremely grateful Arnold Schwarzenegger has joined the 96 Elephants campaign,” said John Calvelli, the WCS’s campaign director. “and we are hopeful that his global following of fans will become allies to stop the killing, stop the trafficking and stop the demand of ivory.”