Industry Icon Martin Guitar and The Nature Conservancy Partner to Save Elephants

Custom Guitars to Include the name Satao to honor Elephant Recently Slaughtered for Ivory

Arlington, VA – June 26, 2014 – It’s estimated that there were 1.2 million elephants in Africa in 1980. 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.  To help end the worst poaching crisis in history, Martin Guitar and The Nature Conservancy launched a partnership today to ramp up efforts in Africa and China through #SaveElephants, a campaign to increase resources for elephant protection, add to growing global pressure on leaders, and to provide concerned individuals with opportunities to take action.   Music artists have also lent their support as elephant ambassadors to help raise awareness.

#SaveElephants is part of a partnership between The Nature Conservancy’s Africa Program and China Program to increase wildlife security, expand habitat, reduce demand, and reduce 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.

Martin Guitar has been creating the finest instruments in the world for over 180 years, and is a leading acoustic instrument maker.  Martin has been concerned about the poaching of African elephants since the 1970s when it made the choice to start phasing out elephant ivory on its instruments, replacing it with a synthetic material.  A hang-tag that was featured on its guitars at that time stated the company’s position: “C.F. Martin and Company refuses to be a contributor to this atrocity.” Since then, it has continued to develop and use materials that it believes comply with its sense of environmental stewardship. In 2013 Martin Guitar stopped using Preserved Mammoth Ivory (PMI) and implemented a plan to phase out using the material on its models. Today Martin Guitar is proud that PMI, like elephant ivory before, has been completely removed from its supply chain and is no longer used on any guitar model it manufacturers.

“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.”

Martin Guitar asked music artists to lend their support and the response is heartwarming and continues to grow.  Elephant Ambassadors will help spread awareness about the issue and participate in a range of programs, including guitars donated and autographed by award-winning artists Dierks Bentley, Tom Johnston of The Doobie Brothers, Colbie Caillet, and Neko Case . Other Elephant Ambassadors include:  Greg Bates, Danny Davis, Dirty Guv’nahs, Donavon Frankenreiter, Jason Isbell, LP, Mac Powell, Jack Mitrani, John Oates, Chuck Ragan, Amanda Shires, and James Valentine of Maroon 5. 

In addition, Martin will utilize all of its communications channels to share information about the campaign.  Chris Martin has posted a video about the initiative on the company’s web page, “A Word From Chris, Save Elephants,”

“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.”

This effort isn’t just for rock stars.  People who want to join the herd and help save elephants can visit our new IndieGoGo page and help fund The Nature Conservancy’s African Elephant Initiative.  When you donate, you earn perk points to receive one-of-a-kind prizes including a specially designed and donated Martin Guitar that features Satao’s name, an elephant tracks inlay, and other accents that celebrate these extraordinary animals.

The Nature Conservancy is also launching an online hub for the #SaveElephants campaign at With the click of a button, people can learn more and help rally more support for elephants.

The Nature Conservancy is working with many partners to protect elephants through a holistic approach that addresses both the supply and demand side of the ivory crisis. Most illegal ivory is trafficked to Asian countries, most notably China, where they are carved into chopsticks, bracelets, and other items. Unfortunately, there is widespread misinformation, leaving many Chinese consumers unaware of the truth about the origins of ivory, so The Nature Conservancy is working with some of the most influential private sector leaders in China to educate consumers and erode the prestige of ivory. At the same time, the Conservancy is working with partners in Africa to increase security forces, expand conservation areas, and importantly, tackle the root cause of poaching: poverty and instability. The only way to protect elephants long-term is to provide conservation incentives to the people who live among them.

Naperville Music applauds Martin and is honored to carry their instruments.

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