By Peter Riger
Did you know you can still buy ivory legally in the United States? Unfortunately it’s true, and the sale and demand of ivory is causing the African elephant population to drop at an alarming rate every single day. Here at the Houston Zoo, we are committed to protecting animals outside of our zoo gates, and African elephants are in serious need of our support.
Our Houston community can help save elephants from extinction by simply telling our Texas representatives to ban the sale of ivory and ivory products in the United States. Join us in our fight to save elephants in the wild by adding your name and information to the initiative below. Signatures will be sent to our local congressman and representatives to urge them to ban the sale of ivory and ivory products in the United States. www.houstonzoo.org/elephant-petition.
Our goal is to collect 5,000 signatures by March 1, 2014, and we need YOUR help to get there!
The Houston Zoo has joined The Wildlife Conservation Society as a partner in the recently launched 96 Elephants Campaign. The Campaign has three goals – securing 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.
The Houston Zoo’s partnership with WCS expands the reach of the 96 Elephants Campaign to Texas. 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 enhanced through local media.
“The illegal ivory trade is pushing elephants to the brink of extinction and the Houston Zoo is proud to partner with WCS’s 96 Elephants Campaign,” said Houston Zoo Director Rick Barongi. “In 2013 alone 35,000 African elephants were killed for their ivory. No species can withstand this kind of loss and survive,” he added.
About the 96 Elephants Campaign
96 Elephants is named for the number of elephants illegally killed each day for their ivory. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), there are currently 166 African elephants and 142 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.
- In 2013, the Houston Zoo generated over $200,000 for elephant conservation programs including Save the Elephants’ efforts to reduce poaching in Kenya and support for local community efforts to reduce human-elephant conflict in Mozambique.