My First Political Cartoon (the Mouse or the Elephant?)

The above cartoon is how the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper reads Blood Ivory: Ivory Worship this weekend even though Blood Ivory clearly states that China dwarfs the Philippines in its impact on the ivory trade (including this call out quote: “By all accounts, China is the world’s greatest villain when it comes to smuggled ivory.”) and exposes how the Chinese government has exploited the CITES system for its gain.

The Cebu paper would apparently prefer its readers go on living in ignorance of any wrongdoing by Catholic leadership no matter the harm to children, elephants, or civil society at home or in Africa (though racist depictions of Chinese are apparently fine).

How different it might be if the Cebu paper recognized that the comparatively small size and high concentration of ivory collectors/carvers/traffickers among Filipino Catholics offered an opportunity for Filipino Catholics at large to correct a problem, and in doing so to lead the world in the protection of the elephant and the improvement of civil society in both Africa and the Philippines.  Think big or think small–that’s the choice.

World Responding to PH Catholic Ivory Scandal

Priest Investigated in Ivory-Smuggling Inquiry in Philippines

By FLOYD WHALEY, New York Times

MANILA — Philippine law enforcement officials said on Wednesday that they were investigating whether a senior priest in the Roman Catholic Church was involved in the smuggling of elephant ivory to feed the country’s passion for religious icons.

The investigation was prompted by an article in the October issue of National Geographic magazine that…

The Catholic News Service runs this story, which has already garnered important response from the midwest assoc director of SNAP. Also in the US, the Washington Post has its own recap in Business.

Papers, columnists, and blogs in the Philippines range in reaction to Blood Ivory’s expose from “it’s about time” to “why pick on us?” to this is “anti-Catholic bias” to this is the work of the devil

These last reactions, some of which come from the Archdiocese of Cebu and even from the Archbishop, are the most interesting.  If there is a devil at work in the world wouldn’t he come down on the side of pedophiles or elephant poachers?

“Blood Ivory” Sparks Italian Story Re Vatican

La Repubblica in Rome interviewed me for this story about Blood Ivory and the role of the Catholic Church in the ivory trade:

Here is snippet from a Google Translate of the Story:

Ivory Trafficking and Global Worship The extermination of elephants continues by Corrado Zunino

“About the sale of ivory in the Vatican, “says Christy,” I think the most important thing is not whether the works are legal or illegal, but rather whether it is right to sell. now it is proved to have quell’avorio kill elephants in a brutal way, you kill the rangers who must protect, feeds corruption worldwide. ” And so the exchange of gifts between heads of state, “is the wrong message, telling the people that the ivory is an appropriate means to express their devotion.” Here, “the leader of the Catholic Church have an extraordinary opportunity to make a difference to the survival of elephants. Few words to them: enough with the religious icons in ivory.”