NGOs Urged to Unite to Help Stop Elephant Slaughter ahead of U.S. Times Square Ivory Crush

Elephant Protection Initiative Calls on NGO Support as Industrial Scale Poaching Threatens to Wipe-Out Elephant Populations across Africa

{Ivory Crush Times Square June 19th 10:30am – 12:00 PM – go to #ivorycrush}

New York, 17 June 2015 - Days ahead of the U.S. Times Square ivory stockpile destruction, Stop Ivory, along with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Save the Elephants, are appealing to NGOs around the world to heed the call of eight African countries to join the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) to stop the wholesale slaughter of elephants which threatens is decimating elephant populations across Africa.

The EPI is a global Initiative launched by leaders from Botswana, Chad, Ethiopia, Gabon and Tanzania during the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade in February 2014 - with the support of the British Government - to provide a common policy framework for the protection of elephants across range states through the implementation of the African Elephant Action Plan.

On June 19, the U.S. will destroy one ton of confiscated ivory - its second destruction in less than two years. Since June 2013, Gabon, Philippines, US, China (twice), France, Chad, Belgium, Hong Kong, Kenya, Ethiopia and Congo have all destroyed their stockpiles as worldwide alarm over the on-going slaughter of elephants grows.

More than 100, 000 elephants were killed every year between 2010 and 2012 – some 96 each day - with proceeds from ivory sales contributing significantly to the estimated US$20 billion a year illegal wildlife and plant trade run largely by criminal networks. Scientists estimate that if current trends continue, elephants will have disappeared from the wild within a generation.

Chief Executive Officer of Stop Ivory Alex Rhodes said, “While the destruction of ivory stock piles in countries across the globe sends a resounding message to criminal networks and prospective consumers that ivory is off the menu, it is not enough to protect the world’s fast declining elephant populations.”

The most recent census in Tanzania has revealed that industrial scale poaching has resulted in a 60 per cent decline of the elephant population in just five years. Equally devastating is the latest census of Mozambique's elephant population, which finds that 48 per cent of the country's elephants have died in the last five years, mostly at the hands of poachers.

“That is why Stop Ivory have joined the EPI in calling on NGOs - along with the private sector and governments – to sign on to this global Initiative, which provides funding to range States to address the elephant crisis through the implementation of the African Elephant Action. This unique common policy framework calls for the closing of domestic ivory markets, a moratorium on any future international trade in ivory for a minimum of 10 years, and putting all ivory stockpiles beyond economic use,” added Mr. Rhodes.

WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director of WCS’s 96 Elephants campaign, John Calvelli said, “Signing on to the EPI is an essential important long-term step to truly end the ivory trade and ensure that elephants thrive in the wild. It has been extremely encouraging to see the groundswell of support as more and more partners sign on to the EPI, but we need even more participation to support the African range countries in their call to protect elephants, and to make this a global movement to save elephants for future generations.”

Demonstrating their commitment to the EPI, Chad, Ethiopia, and Gabon have all undertaken transparent ivory inventories, developed stock management systems, destroyed stockpiles and created robust national versions of the African Elephant Action Plan, all activities that are supported through EPI membership with technical and financial support from organizations including, Stop Ivory, WCS, Save the Elephants and others.

In recent months, Uganda, Malawi and The Gambia have also come on as signatories, signaling that support for the EPI is fast gaining momentum across Africa. However, more countries and partners need to commit to the EPI across supply, transit and consumer markets in order for the EPI to meet its objectives.

Ugandan Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Maria Emily Lubega Mutagamba said, “In accepting to join the EPI, Uganda calls for immediate and longer-term funding for the implementation of the African Elephant Action Plan and we restate our support for the closure of both domestic and international ivory markets.”

“All stockpiles should be put beyond economic use and the moratorium over ten years imposed on any consideration of future international trade and thereafter until African elephant populations are no longer threatened.”

CEO of Save the Elephants Iain Douglas-Hamilton said, "The wave of ivory destructions around the world reflects the global awareness that the ivory trade must end. The Elephant Protection Initiative is helping to create the global coalition needed to take united international action to stop the killing, trafficking and demand for ivory."

China’s recent pledge to "strictly control ivory processing and trade until the commercial processing and sale of ivory and its products are eventually halted," is extremely encouraging, providing some cause for hope that the world’s biggest ivory market might someday close. The conservation community eagerly awaits further news of when this will take place.

Until all countries around the world, from the US to China, Thailand and more, close their ivory markets, elephants remain at extreme risk.

Notes to Editors:

About the EPI

The EPI is a global initiative in which range states, partner states, NGOs, IGO’s, private citizens and the private sector work in partnership to:

•      Provide both immediate and longer-term funding to address the Elephant Crisis through full and timely implementation of the African Elephant Action Plan, by accessing public and private sector support through the creation of a long-term fund that provides guaranteed financial support for all participating range States for the implementation of the AEAP on the basis of threat to Elephant populations and need, and further provides incremental payments linked to overall elephant numbers and growth in elephant populations.

This fund would also provide funds for world-wide citizen education on the issue; for addressing the various development needs of local communities, including poverty, for national conservation activities, and for regional co-operation;

        Close domestic ivory markets in those participating states still operating a domestic market;

        Observe a moratorium on any consideration of future international trade for a minimum of 10 years and thereafter until African elephant populations are no longer threatened; and agree to put all stockpiles beyond economic use.


About Stop Ivory

Stop Ivory is an international charity aimed at protecting elephants and stopping the trade in ivory by providing technical and financial support to countries to implement the African Elephant Action Plan under the EPI framework. Stop Ivory works with governments and a wide range of NGO, IGO and private sector partners to deliver these aims.

Apologies in advance: the stop ivory site is under reconstruction and will be live by mid-July.

About Wildlife Conservation Society

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit:;;  Follow: @thewcs.

About Save the Elephants

Save the Elephants (STE) works to secure a future for elephants in a rapidly changing world. To battle the current surge in ivory poaching, the STE/WCN Elephant Crisis Fund is identifying and supporting the most effective global partners to stop poaching, thwart traffickers and end demand for ivory. Leaders in elephant science, STE also provides cutting-edge scientific insights into elephant behaviour, intelligence, and long-distance movement and applies them to the long-term challenges of elephant conservation.


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