FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2014
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Saint Louis Zoo 314/781-0900
Susan Gallagher, 646-4633
Christy Childs, 646-4639
Joanna Bender, 646-4703
SAINT LOUIS ZOO JOINS FIGHT TO PROTECT ELEPHANTS TO STOP ILLEGAL IVORY TRADE THAT KILLS 96 ELEPHANTS DAILY
The Saint Louis Zoo has joined more than 110 Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) zoos 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.
Visitors can also find out more by visiting the 96 Elephants table on Sunday, April 27, from noon to 3 p.m. near the elephants in River's Edge when the Zoo celebrates Earth Day. The event also marks the launch of the Zoo's participation in the 96 Elephants' Kids Save Elephants campaign, which has children drawing or letter writing about the plight of elephants. Their drawings/letters will be delivered to the governor of Missouri by Aug 12--World Elephant Day. The national campaign goal is to get a total of 96,000 drawings or letters delivered (that means at least 960 must come from Saint Louis Zoo visitors). Earth Day at the Zoo, from 11 to 3 p.m., includes Earth-related activities and games, entertainment and animal enrichment.
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.
Working with the 96 Elephants Campaign, the Saint Louis Zoo is asking the public to help save African elephants in the wild by telling members of Congress who represent Missouri to ban the sale of ivory and ivory products in the United States. Join the Zoo in our fight to save elephants in the wild by adding your name to an online petition at www.96elephants.org. Your signatures will be sent to Missouri's elected officials in Washington, D. C.
"The illegal ivory trade is pushing elephants to the brink of extinction," said Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D., Dana Brown President and CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo. "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 $225,000 to Asian elephant conservation and $670,000 to African elephants for a total of nearly $900,000 in contributions.
About the 96 Elephants Campaign
96 Elephants is named for the number of elephants illegally killed each day for their ivory. According to the AZA, there are currently 165 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.
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.