One ton of elephant ivory to be destroyed in Central Park

Wednesday, 12 July, 2017
Washington, DC

WHAT:      The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will destroy more than one ton [update: nearly two tons] of illegal ivory confiscated through state enforcement efforts. The ivory tusks, trinkets, statues, jewelry and other decorative items will be crushed in Central Park while the public gathers to watch, sending a clear message that the state will not tolerate wildlife crime that threatens to wipe out Africa’s dwindling elephant population

WHEN:     Thursday, August 3, 2017, 10:30 a.m., Media Check-in begins at 9:30 a.m.

WHERE:   Central Park, New York City (between Sheep Meadow and Naumberg Bandshell:

WHO:        The event is being organized by New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and a coalition of other wildlife conservation groups, with support from Tiffany & Co.

Partnering organizations include some of the world’s most prominent wildlife conservation NGOs:

  • African Wildlife Foundation
  • Association of Zoos and Aquariums
  • The Humane Society of the United States
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Save Animals Facing Extinction
  • United States Wildlife Trafficking Alliance
  • WildAid

WHY:         The United States remains one of the largest consumers of ivory products in the world, creating significant demand. As the ivory is crushed during this symbolic event, so must the demand from the U.S. and other consumer countries be crushed, in order to stop the killing. The purpose of this event is to draw wide-scale attention to the plight of elephants.

IMAGES:   Confiscated ivory that will be crushed.  CREDIT: NYDEC

BACKGROUND: African elephant populations have declined 60 percent since the FWS listed them as Threatened in 1978. The steep decline is largely a result of habitat loss, poaching, commercial exploitation, trophy hunting, human-elephant conflict, regional conflict and instability, and climate change. Between 2005 and 2014, trophy hunters imported parts of 4,600 African elephants to the U.S.

Last year, IFAW released Killing For Trophies: An Analysis of Global Trophy Hunting Trade, an in-depth report which provided a comprehensive look at the scope and scale of the trophy hunting industry worldwide. The report found that between 2004 and 2014, over 10,000 elephant trophies were legally traded.

The crush comes as federal and state initiatives are underway to curtail the ivory and other wildlife trade in the U.S. IFAW has played a critical role in passing bans in the top three states for illegal wildlife trade – New York, California and Hawaii – in addition to New Jersey, and continues to forge ahead fighting for stronger protections for wildlife everywhere.

CONTACT: Matt Sutton, The Rosen Group
(w) 212.255.8478, (m) 915.227.5680

About IFAW (The International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook/IFAW and Twitter @action

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