JOIN THE STAMPEDE!
WORLD ELEPHANT DAY TO BE CELEBRATED TODAY AT SAINT LOUIS ZOO
World Elephant Day is observed across the globe every year and is designed to bring attention to the plight of elephants in the wild. Today, Wednesday, Aug. 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saint Louis Zoo visitors can meet members of the Zoo’s three-generation Asian elephant family in River’s Edge, participate in interactive elephant-themed activities and hear keeper chats. At the 96 Elephants booth, there will be selfie, or “elphie,” photo opportunities as well as an opportunity to “Join the STAMPede” and take action to help save elephants. See details at www.stlzoo.org/96elephants.
Ninety-six elephants are illegally killed for their ivory (tusks) every day in Africa. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), there are currently 155 African elephants and 138 Asian elephants in the AZA Elephant Species Survival Plan. That means that there are more elephants killed in three days than are living in all of the AZA-accredited zoos combined.
“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. “Each year, 35,000 African elephants are 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.”
The Zoo is rallying St. Louisans and Zoo visitors against the ivory trade and elephant poaching crisis and urging support of banning ivory sales. Working with the Wildlife Conservation Society and 96 Elephants Campaign, the 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. Stronger federal regulation can’t stop ivory sales that stay within state borders. That’s why zoos across the nation are also asking people to send letters to their state governors to encourage a state ban on the sale of ivory.
On July 25, President Obama announced the pending release of the long-awaited 4(d) rule on African elephant ivory. The text of the proposed rule is now published in the Federal Register and will be followed by a 60-day comment period that will conclude on Sept. 28.
The 4(d) rule seeks to ban the sale or offer of sale of ivory in interstate or foreign commerce and delivery, receipt, carrying, transport or shipment of ivory for commercial purposes except for defined antiques and certain manufactured items containing de minimis quantities of ivory. Persons seeking to qualify for any exceptions from the ban must demonstrate they meet the criteria to qualify for the exceptions.
Beginning Aug. 12 through the conclusion of the public comment period, the 96 Elephants coalition will show a “STAMPede” of support for the federal ban by collecting letters of support and generating online and social media engagement. The goal will be to deliver a symbolic 96,000 messages to decision makers in Washington D.C.
Another way to show support is to take selfies with drawings or signs supporting elephants and then to post these “elphies” to social media channels. Supporters can also create a 6-second video of creative foot-stamping to symbolize “joining the STAMPede.” These simple acts should be shared using these hashtags: #JoinTheSTAMPede, #BeHerd, #96Elephants and #WorldElephantDay. Supporters can also #BeHerd by submitting their public comments in support of the ban and add their names to an online petition for their state at www.96elephants.org. Signatures will be sent to the region’s elected officials in Washington, D.C.
The collective 96 Elephants coalition includes the Saint Louis Zoo and more than 120 other AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, a network of business and non-profit partners, and millions of conservation advocates. This coalition is sending a clear message to decision makers that only elephants should own ivory.
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 and Mali. Since 2004, the Zoo’s WildCare Institute has provided nearly $275,000 to Asian elephant conservation and $753,000 to African elephants for a total of nearly $1,028,000 in contributions.
Wildife Conservation Society (WCS) is leading global efforts to save Africa’s elephants and end the current poaching and ivory trafficking crisis. In September 2013, WCS launched its 96 Elephants campaign (www.96elephants.org) to amplify and support the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) “Partnership to Save Africa’s Elephants” by stopping the killing, stopping the trafficking, and stopping the demand. The WCS campaign focuses on: securing effective moratoria on domestic sales of ivory; bolstering elephant protection; and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis.
Saint Louis Zoo
Named America’s #1 Zoo by Zagat Survey and Parenting Magazine, the Saint Louis Zoo is widely recognized for its innovative approaches to animal management, wildlife conservation, research and education. One of the few free zoos in the nation, it attracts about 3,000,000 visitors a year.