NEW YORK (June 15, 2016) – WCS has kicked off the third phase of its 96 Elephants campaign focusing on fighting wildlife crime that continues to slaughter 96 elephants each day in Africa.


The new campaign, called “Fight the Crime” targets increased penalties and enforcement of laws that prosecute ivory trafficking and wildlife crime.

Policy targets include the END Wildlife Trafficking Act, a bi-partisan bill that will help bolster wildlife rangers in an effort to address the poaching and trafficking crisis.  The bill would help to better equip wildlife enforcement units in key countries by transferring used military equipment for ranger use, while also helping to ensure that U.S. foreign assistance is targeted where it will truly make a difference.  

To support the campaign, advertising agency Juniper Jones has created a powerful series of advertisements showing a typical crime scene in a gritty urban area complete with investigators and a familiar chalk outline of a victim. The outline is then revealed to be an elephant with its tusks removed.  The rock-and-roll classic “96 Tears” plays hauntingly in the background. A passionate animal activist, ? (aka Question Mark) was so moved by the plight of the elephants that he re-recorded his classic 1966 hit for the ad.  The original song, written by Rudy Martinez, published and released by ABKCO Music & Records and performed by ? and the Mysterians, was a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold over 1 million copies.

The campaign will launch beginning June 15, and will appear across multiple channels including TV, Radio, Print, Digital and OOH secured by Horizon Media the world’s largest privately-owned media agency in the world. Horizon has partnered with the Wildlife Conservation Society since the beginning of the 96 Elephants campaign in 2014, and has secured millions of dollars in free advertising for the 96 Elephants campaign messaging across the nation, including high trafficked areas such as Times Square.

Said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants campaign: “These crimes are grave injustices that result in species loss, extinction, financial rewards for illegal activities, and political instability. African elephants will be poached out of existence for their tusks unless we enforce laws and penalties to stop the profit and incentives for this slaughter.”

Launched in 2013 at the Clinton Global Initiative, the 96 Elephants campaign was created to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand. Phase one of the campaign, called “Join the Herd” was to raise initial awareness about the issue. Phase two, called “Take a Stand,” targeted passing of ivory bans and moratoria, and led to successful state bans being enacted in New Jersey, New York, and California along with a pending ban in Hawaii.  In addition, a powerful federal ban was enacted by The Obama Administration though the final rules have not yet been announced.

The 96 Elephants campaign is expected to run through 2017.