96 Elephants campaign helps achieve ivory bans in New York and New Jersey and expand social media impact in China

96 Elephants sparks 672,500 emails to officials in support of elephants

CGI launches The Elephant Action Network to increase conservation partners and monitor successes

NEW YORK (Sept. 23, 2014)—
The Wildlife Conservation Society reported today at the Clinton Global Initiative’s Annual Meeting a number of encouraging gains achieved over the past year in the fight to save Africa’s elephants, including the successful 96 Elephants campaign in the United States, social media outreach efforts in China, and the newly passed New York and New Jersey State bans on ivory.

“We applaud the Sec. Clinton and Chelsea Clinton for their continued dedication in protecting African elephant populations and are encouraged with the momentum behind saving Africa’s elephants which was sparked at last year’s Clinton Global Initiative,” said Dr. Cristián Samper, WCS President and CEO and a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking. “We are especially optimistic about additional progress as governments of Asia have joined the fold of nations committed to stopping the ivory trade. Stopping the demand is pivotal in this effort.”

Shortly after the initiation of CGI’s Partnership to Save Africa’s Elephants one year ago, WCS launched the 96 Elephants campaign, named for the estimated number of elephants killed illegally in Africa every day. The campaign has focused on securing effective U.S. moratorium laws, bolstering elephant protection with additional funding, and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis. 

Click here to see a video on this national campaign, bolstered by more than 160 partners >>

Noteworthy accomplishments by WCS in the field and with partners through the 96 Elephants campaign over the past year include: 

  • The direct protection of elephants in 15 protected areas across Africa, estimated to contain some 45,000 elephants (approximately 69 percent of all forest elephants and 10 percent of all savannah elephants).
  • The deployment of the law enforcement monitoring program SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) in 21 elephant landscapes across Africa. SMART uses state-of-the-art GPS-based tracking and reporting systems to increase the effectiveness of ranger patrols. 
  • The development of a WCS Africa/Asia transcontinental wildlife trafficking strategy with a major focus on ivory trafficking.
  • Online engagement activities in China designed to make elephants and ivory a top environmental topic in the country in 2016 to generate public support for stopping demand for ivory, and government policies to support that. 
  • The generation of 151,648 online interactions on elephants and ivory-related issues as part of various online campaigns in China. 
  • Online pledge of more than 1,200 Chinese travelers going through Guangzhou City’s international airport in the “Bring No Ivory Home” on Sina Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter). 
  • The establishment of a key partnership with The Travel Channel in China and the production of a TV series on Africa focusing on elephant conservation and anti-ivory messaging. Filmed in both Tanzania and Beijing in June, the program will launch with an accompanying online media promotion campaign.
  • The launching of a Chinese-language website on elephants and ivory, the first such resource available in China. Jiudaxiang.org now serves as the go-to site for the Chinese public, decision-makers, NGOs, and academics seeking authoritative Chinese-language information on elephants and ivory. 
  • The 96 Elephants campaign has engaged more than 160 coalition partners, including 118 Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) member institutions, which has resulted in 391,970 constituent actions taken on behalf of WCS and/or the 96 Elephants campaign, sending a combined 672,585 emails to NY State legislators, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Congress, President Barack Obama, and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. This number includes 72,979 social media actions and 33,274 petitions, drawings, and letters collected in and around the WCS zoos and aquarium. 
  • Extensive coordination with other organizations to secure ivory trade bans in New York and New Jersey, and to ensure a strong federal ban.
  • Social media activity generated by 96 Elephants in 142 countries around the world.

At last year’s Annual Meeting, Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton announced the Partnership to Save Africa’s Elephants. Because of the strong success of last year’s single commitment, this effort was scaled into The Elephant Action Network, which now includes 21 different commitments made by 16 individual organizations, which reach 58 different countries and touch upon each of our three pillars: Stop the Killing, Stop the Trafficking, Stop the Demand.

Commitment-makers to The Elephant Action Network include: African People and Wildlife; African Wildlife Foundation; Animal Planet; Conservation International; Frankfurt Zoological Society; International Fund for Animal Welfare; International Rangers Federation; INTERPOL; MADE for New York Fashion Week; SAFE; Save the Elephants; The Stimson Center; The Nature Conservancy; Wildlife Conservation Society; and World Wildlife Fund. 

The Elephant Action Network will support governments in identifying and implementing priority actions to combat elephant poaching trafficking in ivory.  These include: stringent enforcement measures in landscapes containing elephant populations across Africa; using a complementary range of urgent actions to strengthen enforcement capacity at ports and markets; initiating intelligence-led crackdowns on illicit networks; securing ivory stockpiles; and reform laws and penalties to rapidly reduce trafficking. 

In an effort to raise awareness of the illegal ivory trade and the impact of the trade on Africa’s elephants, the network will work with governments and other stakeholders in priority consumer countries to develop and implement demand-reduction strategies, including public awareness campaigns on the links between the purchase of ivory products and the elephant poaching crisis in Africa.  Strategies will also raise awareness of the legal penalties for people involved in smuggling or illegal trading of ivory.  The overall aim is to change perceptions and purchasing practices in order to reduce consumption of and demand for ivory. 


Mary Dixon: 1-347-840-1242 (mdixon@wcs.org)
Max Pulsinelli: 1-571-218-7601 (mpulsinelli@wcs.org)
John Delaney: 1-718-220-3275 (jdelaney@wcs.org)
The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit www.wcs.org .

96 Elephants
WCS is leading global efforts to save Africa’s elephants and end the current poaching and ivory trafficking crisis. In September, 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 cris