The escalating crisis of elephant poaching has been all over the news lately and for good reason. Due to the skyrocketing price of black market ivory, poachers have been killing elephants at a rate of one every fifteen minutes. Terrorist organizations such as Somalia's Al-Shabaab are using ivory smuggling to fund terror attacks, like the recent shootings at Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya, leading the United States to now see wildlife trafficking as a national security issue. And the Clinton Foundation just announced an $80 million effort to help stop elephant slaughter.
Located on Broadway between 46th and 47th Street, directly above the McDonald’s logo, the billboard is 31’ high x 55’ wide; the campaign for elephants will be screened for approximately a month at a frequency of once every 2 minutes for 24 hours a day. Using imagery and art, it will feature the tragedy of extinction caused by China's ivory carving factories and the global ivory trade and question if a trinket is worth the price.
Envisioned by the San Francisco's grass roots advocacy group March for Elephants, and designed by New York's brilliant conservation Artist Asher Jay the billboard is a crowd funded campaign hosted by LoudSauce Inc. which provides a platform for crowd powered advertising and promotion.
Asher Jay had this to say about her inspiration for the project:
We live in a generation where mainstream visual marketing is the language of the masses, and well placed ad campaigns help contour cultural consciousness. This is why, as a creative conservationist, I felt compelled to get involved with the Elephant in Times Square campaign by March For Elephants. When they contacted me with the idea of conceptualizing and designing a billboard in Times Square, it seemed like an obvious next step for the global Elephant conservation effort. Times Square receives 350,000 people daily; to use this stage to raise awareness is inspired. From SF to NYC, coast to coast, this internationally crowd funded initiative is clear evidence that we are all in this together, to help save this keystone species for future generations.
There is no better time than NOW to make a difference and lend a voice to the unheard. Elephants are a keystone species, their imminent extinction (one is killed every 15 minutes) will affect countless other species. The time has come for us to choose to rise above, to evolve, and embrace the size and power of the elephant, in every sense of the word. Let us make room for something of similar size within ourselves, and in this self expansion discover the compassion, common sense and courage to save the wild elephant.
Here's a video of the billboard in action: