The Saint Louis Zoo has joined more than 118 Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions that are part of the 96 Elephants Campaign. This campaign has three goals – to secure a U. S. moratorium on illegal ivory; reinforce the protection of African elephants; and inform the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis.

In response to the 96 Elephants Campaign, the Obama Administration has pledged to strengthen regulatory controls on U.S imports, exports and domestic commercial trade in elephant ivory. While the international commercial trade in ivory has been banned since 1990, individual countries, including the United States, have maintained varying levels of legal domestic trade. Traffickers have exploited regulatory loopholes to continue sending illegal ivory into the U.S.

We Need Your Help

Working with the 96 Elephants Campaign, the Saint Louis Zoo is asking the public to help African elephants in the wild by telling members of Congress who represent the Metropolitan St. Louis Region to ban the sale of ivory and ivory products in the United States.

The public can join the Zoo in its fight to save elephants by adding their names to an online petition at Signatures will be sent to the region's elected officials in Washington, D. C.

Stronger federal regulation can't stop ivory sales that stay within state borders. That's why zoos across the nation are asking children to send drawings and letters to their state governors to encourage a state ban on the sale of ivory. The Saint Louis Zoo delivered more than 1,700 elephant drawings and letters from children to Missouri Governor Nixon's office in August, 2014.

Ivory Trade Kills Elephants

The illegal ivory trade is pushing elephants to the brink of extinction. In 2013 alone, 35,000 African elephants were killed for their ivory. No species can withstand this kind of loss and survive. We care for Asian elephants at our Zoo. In the wild, Asian elephants are also under siege. There are fewer than 50,000 left.

Every year the Zoo supports the welfare and conservation of Asian elephants in Sumatra and other countries in Asia and the conservation of African elephants in Kenya. Since 2004, the Zoo’s WildCare Institute has provided nearly $250,000 to Asian elephant conservation and $720,000 to African elephants for a total of nearly $970,000 in contributions.

Behind the Name: 96 Elephants

96 Elephants is named for the number of elephants illegally killed each day for their ivory. According to the AZA, there are currently 162 African elephants and 144 Asian elephants in the AZA Elephant Species Survival Plan (SSP). That means that there are more elephants killed in four days than are living in all of the AZA-accredited zoos combined. The Saint Louis Zoo’s partnership with this Wildlife Conservation Society initiative expands the reach of the 96 Elephants Campaign to Missouri. The campaign brings together multiple organizations to help raise awareness and drive action to save elephants. The 96 Elephants Campaign is designed to educate and engage the public through a series of activities, including online petitions and letter writing campaigns.

What the 96 Elephants Campaign is Doing for Elephants:

  • Bolsters elephant protection in the wild by increasing support for park guards, intelligence networks, and government operations in the last great protected areas for elephants throughout the Congo Basin and East Africa.
  • Directly engages the elephant poaching crisis with high-tech tools ranging from drones and remote cameras to specially trained sniffer dogs to find smuggled ivory in ports and trading centers.