NEW YORK (July 17, 2017) – WCS is giving a member of the public a chance to help crush one ton of illegal ivory at the historic August 3rd ivory crush at Central Park through a one-of-a kind sweepstakes opportunity.

The sweepstakes winner will be able to join VIPs and celebrities and personally place a piece of ivory on the conveyor belt at the crush, sending a powerful message that illegal ivory trafficking must stop [Please note: travel costs are not included. See full list of rules.]  The sweepstakes ends on Sunday, July 23rd.

The ivory tusks, trinkets, statues, jewelry and other decorative items, confiscated through NYDEC enforcement actions, will be placed into an enormous rock crusher and destroyed while supporters gather to watch.

“This is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to ‘crush it’ and be part of history,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Director of WCS’s 96 Elephant Campaign. “The world will be watching on August 3rd, and we tell ivory poachers in no uncertain terms that they are going out of business.”

The event is being organized by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC), with support from Tiffany & Co., a longstanding leader in sustainability and a member of the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance.  Partnering organizations include some of the world’s most prominent wildlife conservation NGOs: African Wildlife Foundation, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Geographic, Save Animals Facing Extinction, United States Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, and WildAid. Special thanks to Emerald Equipment Systems for donating the crusher.

Up to 96 elephants are killed each day in Africa due to ivory poaching, which threatens elephants with extinction.

The ivory was seized from individuals and companies illegally selling it in New York. Over 650 ivory pieces were seized with an estimated value of over $6 million.

Statewide ivory bans have been passed in New York, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington. A federal ivory ban was enacted last year. Since 1989, 22 countries and territories have destroyed more than 270 metric tons of confiscated ivory.  In 2015, Over a ton of ivory was crushed in Times Square.

Despite local successes and progress in some countries, tens of thousands of elephants are still being killed illegally every year in Africa for their ivory, with about 20,000 killed in 2015 alone; this rate of illegal killing is known to be driving serious declines in elephant populations, and far more needs to be done.