Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 12, is World Elephant Day.
While for some of us, every day is Elephant Day, tomorrow provides an opportunity to rally around the many great efforts that are in place to reduce the demand for ivory, fight poaching and the illegal ivory trade. Here are links to several sites where you can take meaningful action: 96 Elephants, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, WildAid, and Care2.
Start with 96 Elephants, a Wildlife Conservation Society effort that is named after the number of African elephants that are killed every day. Here is a copy of their press release, citing what they hope to accomplish tomorrow — and they are only one of the organizations taking action:
Timed to coincide with #WorldElephantDay on Wednesday, August 12, The Wildlife Conservation Society’s 96 Elephants Campaign is rallying Americans against the ivory trade and elephant poaching crisis and urging support of the proposed Federal ban on ivory sales.
On July 25, President Obama announced the pending release of the long-awaited 4(d) rule on African elephant ivory during his trip to Kenya. The text of the proposed rule is now published in the Federal Register and will be followed by a 60-day comment period that will conclude on September 28.
The 4(d) rule seeks to ban the sale or offer of sale of ivory in interstate or foreign commerce and delivery, receipt, carrying, transport or shipment of ivory for commercial purposes except for defined antiques and certain manufactured items containing de minimis quantities of ivory. Persons seeking to qualify for any exceptions from the ban must demonstrate they meet the criteria to qualify for the exceptions.
“The United States Government has shown true leadership in the fight against poachers that currently kill 96 elephants each day,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants Campaign. “It is now up to all of us on World Elephant Day to be part of this ‘stampede’ to support the strongest possible ivory ban. Together, we can help save these majestic animals from extinction.”
Beginning on August 12, #WorldElephantDay, through the conclusion of the public comment period, WCS and the 96 Elephants coalition will show a “STAMPede” of support for the Federal ban collecting letters of support and generating online and social media engagement. The goal will be to deliver a symbolic 96,000 messages to decision makers in Washington D.C.
Social media has made it easier than ever to communicate with decision makers on issues of importance, and it will play a large role in rallying support for the 4(d) rule. People are encouraged to take photos of themselves with drawings or signs in support of elephants and post their “elphies” to social media channels. They can also create a 6-second video of creative foot-stamping to symbolize “joining the STAMPede.” These simple acts of support should be shared using these hashtags: #JoinTheSTAMPede, #BeHerd, #96Elephants and #WorldElephantDay. Supporters can also #BeHerd by submitting their public comment in support of the ban at http://www.96elephants.org.
Through these social media engagements, the collective 96 Elephants coalition, which includes more than 120 AZA accredited zoos and aquariums, a network of business and non-profit partners, and millions of conservation advocates, will send a clear message to decision makers that only elephants should own ivory.
96 Elephants was named for the number of elephants gunned down each day for their ivory. The Wildlife Conservation Society launched the campaign in September 2013.
The 96 Elephants campaign:
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.
Funds high-tech tools in the field ranging from drones and sophisticated remote cameras that track poachers in real-time, to specially trained sniffer dogs to find smuggled ivory in ports and trading hubs.
Engages the public through a series of actions including online petitions and letter writing campaigns enhanced through social media to support U.S. and state moratoria, increase funding, and spread the word about demand and consumption of ivory. 96 Elephants educates public audiences about the link between the purchase of ivory products and the elephant poaching crisis, and support global moratoria and other policies that protect elephants.
Be a part of the action — tomorrow and every day!