Piano Man Billy Joel takes stand against elephant poaching

One of the arguments in favour of poaching elephants have come from people who say the ivory from the elephants’ tusks are needed to make piano keys.

Poachers kill an estimated 96 elephants every day in Africa for their ivory tusks, but now Africa’s elephants have attracted a powerful new supporter, none other than the Piano Man himself, singer and songwriter Billy Joel.

Joel’s voice is heard in a series of new ads supporting the Wildlife Conservation Society’s 96 Elephantscampaign.

As computer-animated elephants come to life from shards of ivory, Joel’s voiceover warns:

“We can’t turn back time, but we can reverse this trend. Don’t be the generation that allowed elephants to go extinct.


Last year, Joel published a impassioned letter on his website in defense of elephants, saying:

“I am a piano player. And I realize that ivory piano keys are preferred by some pianists – but a preference for ivory keys does not justify the slaughter of 96 elephants every day. There are other materials which can be substituted for piano keys. But magnificent creatures like these can never be replaced.

Joel tickles the plastic

Joel uses plastic keys on his piano.

“Music must never be used as an excuse to destroy an endangered species…Music should be a celebration of life – not an instrument of death.

The 96 Elephants campaign focuses on: securing effective moratoria on sales of ivory; bolstering elephant protection; and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis.

Every day 96 elephants are killed

The “Take a Stand for Elephants,” campaign was conceived and developed for 96 Elephants by pro bono partner, Steve Harper, an independent creative director, designer and animator based in New York and founder of ThisisBonaFide.com.

The campaign will appear across television, radio, print, digital, and out-of-home channels and media.

Working with 195 partners including 125 zoos across 45 states, the 96 Elephants campaign has helped to ban ivory sales in New York and New Jersey and is currently supporting proposed bans in California – the largest ivory market after New York – and across the United States.

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Peg Fong is also in recovery from newspapers

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