World Elephant Day is observed across the globe every year and is designed to bring attention to the plight of elephants in the wild. On Saturday, Aug. 12, special World Elephant Day keeper chats will take place at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. at River’s Edge, home of the Zoo’s three-generation Asian elephant family.
The Zoo will “Go Grey” on its social media channels this week in support of elephants and encourages the public to do the same. This can include turning social media profile photos to grey, posting selfies (or “elphies”) with #GoGrey, and wearing grey during the day. On Friday, Aug. 11, members of the elephant care team will take over the Zoo’s Facebook page with information, photos and video showcasing their tremendous dedication to these amazing animals.
Ninety-six elephants are illegally killed for their ivory (tusks) every day in Africa. According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), there are currently 162 African elephants and 137 Asian elephants in the AZA Elephant Species Survival Plan. That means that there are more elephants killed in three days than are living in all of the AZA-accredited zoos combined.
“The illegal ivory trade is pushing elephants to the brink of extinction,” said Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D., Dana Brown President and CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo. “Each year, over 35,000 African elephants are killed for their ivory. No species can withstand this kind of loss and survive. We care for Asian elephants at our Zoo. In the wild, Asian elephants also are under siege. There are fewer than 50,000 left.”
The collective 96 Elephants coalition includes the Saint Louis Zoo and over 120 other AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, a network of business and non-profit partners, and millions of conservation advocates. This coalition is sending a clear message to decision makers that only elephants should own ivory.
The Zoo’s WildCare Institute Elephant Conservation Program is dedicated to partnering with others globally to support wild Asian and African elephants and their fragile habitats. In total, zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums contribute over $160 million annually to fund over 2,500 animal conservation projects in over 100 countries.
Wildife Conservation Society (WCS) is leading global efforts to save Africa’s elephants and end the current poaching and ivory trafficking crisis. In September 2013, WCS launched its 96 Elephants campaign 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. For more information, visit 96elephants.org.
Saint Louis Zoo
Chosen as America’s top free attraction and best zoo in USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards, the Saint Louis Zoo is widely recognized for its innovative approaches to animal care and management, wildlife conservation, research and education. One of the few free zoos in the nation, the Zoo attracts more than 3,000,000 visitors a year. For more information, visit stlzoo.org, facebook.com/stlzoo, instagram.com/stlzoo, Snapchat (saintlouiszoo), youtube.com/stlzootube and pinterest.com/stlzoo.