Dede's Green Scene: Welcome to the Jungle by Dede Tabak, June 03 2015, 0 Comments

Welcome to the Jungle is one of Guns n’ Roses most famous songs. Now, former Guns ‘n Roses guitarist, Slash is asking people to respect the jungle as well! Slash (born Saul Hudson) is more than just a legendary guitarist; he’s also a lifetime animal lover and activist. It was known that Slash was a big fan of snakes, having owned 80 of them before his son was born and being on the cover of Reptile Magazine in 2008. Today he is a trustee of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA). Back in 2012, he and fellow GLAZA member, Betty White, filmed a commercial for the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Slash has shot other ads and PSAs for the zoo as well, including when he assisted in the cause of Billy, an endangered Asian elephant who lives at the LA Zoo. When Slash learned that funding for the zoo's Pachyderm Forest was in jeopardy, he filmed a broadcast-and-YouTube plea urging the Los Angeles City Council to complete the new habitat.

"I used to not believe in zoos as a concept, but now because there are so many endangered animals; there's so much poaching," Slash tells Samaritanmag. "With zoos now, it's really about conservation. They become safe houses for a lot of species so, I think, now, zoos are really necessary places, not totally about just family entertainment at any cost. It's about education; it's about conservation."

Slash received the inaugural Tom F. Mankiewicz Leadership Award from GLAZA at the 41st Annual Beastly Ball recognizing his longtime support of the zoo and the welfare of the world's natural and civic environment. Tom Mankiewicz was a filmmaker and GLAZA chairman who died in 2010.

Along with Bob Irwin (father to the late Steve Irwin), Slash has launched the Bob Irwin Wildlife Fund and Conservation Foundation. The Bob Irwin Wildlife Fund is a non-profit organization that focuses on education, animal support and advocacy for Australian wildlife. The two met in 2010 at the Soundwave music festival in Australia and they connected on their love for wildlife

In 2013, Slash performed in South Africa with rock supergroup Kings of Chaos and spent extra time traveling around and seeing the local wildlife. Although he had been aware of the diminishing numbers of elephants in the world, he learned on this trip that the situation was becoming increasingly dire. While poaching rangers had increased their efforts to stop the illegal ivory trade, Slash believed that people needed to be more aware of the situation.

"I was shocked that the poachers still manage to get away with it," he tells Rolling Stone. "A lot of people don't know that every time they purchase anything that has even a smidgen of ivory in it, it comes from a dead elephant. I think if people were more aware of that, it would have a dramatic effect on the whole ivory trade."

In order to educate others about the effects of the ivory trade, Slash and singer Myles Kennedy wrote a song called Beneath the Savage Sun, which is written from the point of view of an elephant who just watched his mother die. Slash also filmed a music video to go along with it. In addition to trying to raise awareness about the devastating effects of ivory poaching on the elephant populations, Slash has also partnered with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and is donating all of the proceeds of Beneath the Savage Sun to IFAW. Jeff Flocken, IFAW's regional director, North America, has been working with the Obama Administration to draft and implement laws to regulate ivory, but Slash urges the masses to stop buying products that contain ivory.

"Donating is great – that's hugely necessary – but the other thing to do is to stop purchasing ivory," Slash says to Rolling Stone. "Do not buy it. I think the more people that stop buying ivory is going to have a significant effect on the elephant poaching trade."

To listen to Beneath the Savage Sun or to donate check out the IFAW website at http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/news/slash-and-myles-kennedy-ivory-trade-anywhere-threat-elephants-everywhere.