SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Zoo and Gardens announced on Friday, August 12 their campaign to STOP Ivory Trade and to preserve wildlife on World Elephant Day, according to a press release. The STOP (Stand and Take Our Pledge) Ivory Trade campaign wishes to raise awareness towards the declining numbers of elephants due to poaching.
Even though there is a near-total nationwide ban on ivory trade, 100 elephants are killed every day for their ivory. The city of San Francisco is the second city in the United States for ivory markets. The San Francisco Zoo as a conservation leader in the community says they have a responsibility to educate the public about illegal wildlife trade and the decimating population of elephants, the earth’s largest land animals.
“It’s important for us in San Francisco to shed light on what’s happening in our own backyard and how illegal ivory sales are impacting elephants,” said Tanya M. Peterson, President of San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. “We hope the increased attention on ivory poaching will help shut down imports and sales of illegal ivory and reduce the staggering statistics. There are less than 40,000 remaining Asian elephants and 400,000 African elephants. At this rate, elephants will be extinct in just a few short years.”
Peterson was joined by San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee, San Francisco Zoo supporter John McNellis, and around a dozen youth volunteers to help bring awareness of the elephants’ lowering population due to poaching for their ivory. The San Francisco Zoo invites the public to give a thumbs up for conservation and take the anti-ivory pledge.
Those interested in taking the anti-ivory pledge can do so by filling out a form in person at the Zoo Membership Office at the San Francisco Zoo or online at www.sfzoo.org. The San Francisco Zoo will be collecting signatures through World Rhino Day, another endangered species due to poaching, on September 22. Since the campaign’s announcement the zoo has collected 350 signatures, Rachel Eslick, San Francisco Zoo Media Contact, told San Francisco News in an email. Anyone can show their support for the campaign on social media using the hashtags #STOPIvoryTrade and #ThumbsUpForConservation.
“San Francisco Zoo & Gardens is involved in a number of projects with a variety of organizations to help protect endangered wildlife,” Eslick told San Francisco News. “The Zoo supports organizations like 96 Elephants, Andean Cat Alliance, Snow Leopard Conservancy, and International Rhino Foundation. Along with fundraising for our needs as a nonprofit Zoo, we also strive to consistently raise awareness and funds for organizations that conserve wild animals.”
The San Francisco Zoo and Gardens is home to more than 2,000 exotic, endangered and rescued animals, and represents more than 230 different species. The zoo is located where the Great Highway meets Sloat Boulevard and is open every day in the summer from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The zoo is accessible by the San Francisco MUNI “L” Taraval Line.