Lloyd Bishop/NBCAs a pianist, Billy Joel may have spent a lot of time “tickling the ivories,” but he wants to make sure that doesn’t involve real elephant ivory. The musician, animal lover and expectant father is lending his voice to a new series of ads supporting the Wildlife Conservation Society’s 96 Elephants campaign, “Take a Stand for Elephants.”

96 Elephants was named for the number of elephants killed each day by poachers in Africa for their ivory tusks. Its aim is to bring together world citizens, partners, thought-leaders and change-makers to stop the killing of elephants and help ban the sale of ivory.

“We can’t turn back time, but we can reverse this trend,” Joel says in a voiceover during one of the promo videos for the initiative. “Don’t be the generation that allowed elephants to go extinct.”

Last year, Billy wrote an impassioned letter in support of a bill in the New York State Senate that would severely restrict the sale of items made of ivory.

“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,” he wrote. “There are other materials which can be substituted for piano keys. But magnificent creatures like these can never be replaced.”

Joel added, “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 bill was signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last August.

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