For 130 years Martin Guitar imported ivory from Africa for its highly sought after instruments.
Then in the late 1960s, the Martin family recognized their role in contributing to the mass slaughter of elephants and began phasing out the use of ivory in its acclaimed guitars, using instead a synthetic substitute.
Now, almost 50 years later, the Martin family is once again putting its voice where its fretboard is, lending its name and its guitars to the campaign to stop elephant killings in Africa and China.
Last week Pennsylvania's legendary guitar maker announced it was teaming up with the Nature Conservancy to help save elephants from the poaching crisis
“Forty-five years ago we phased out the use of ivory. And yet today I’m still concerned about the horrible slaughter of elephants. This is a terrible shame and it should stop. And the only way it is going to stop is if people stop buying and using ivory,” said Chris Martin IV, Chairman and CEO, Martin Guitar.”
In 1980 there were about 1.2 million elephants in Africa.. Now there are only about 430,000, with an estimated 20,000 elephants killed last year alone. Tragically, one of the world’s largest and most famous elephants, Satao, was recently killed by poachers in Kenya, fueling global outcry for action.
The social media effort through #SaveElephants, is aimed at increasing resources for elephant protection, add to growing global pressure on leaders, and to provide concerned individuals with opportunities to take action. Music artists - among them members of The Doobie Brothers, Colbie Caillet, and Neko Case .- have also lent their support as elephant ambassadors to help raise awareness.
The Nature Conservancy’s Africa Elephant Initiative fpcuses on increasing wildlife security, expanding habitat, reducing demand, and reducing poverty and instability – the root cause of poaching. The campaign will provide people with simple actions to help elephants that added up, will make a difference.
“About 55 elephants are illegally killed each day to fuel the global demand for luxury goods made out of ivory,” said David Banks, Managing Director, Africa Program, The Nature Conservancy. “Martin Guitar is lending their star power to help end this crisis and the awareness they raise for the issue will make a real difference.”
The Nature Conservancy is also launching an online hub for the #SaveElephants campaign at nature.org/elephants. With the click of a button, people can learn more and help rally more support for elephants.
See the Martin website and find out information about its campaign here.