‘For a brief moment during the ivory crush, Times Square stood still for the elephants.’


New York, June 19, 2015 -- The following statement was released today by Cristián Samper concerning the ivory crush in Times Square:


“Today, the United States Government crushed one ton of illegal ivory at an event in Times Square.


“For a brief moment, Times Square stood still for Africa’s elephants.


“The United States staged this event at its most famous address where messages speak their loudest -- two stories high and in lights. And today's message is this: We plan to crush the ivory trade and crush the profits of the traffickers. 


“The United States today was not just crushing ivory from poached elephants -- it was crushing the bloody ivory market.  It was declaring that we will join many other nations to do our part in ending this crisis.


“At WCS, we were proud to stand at the crush with Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary, Department of the Interior; Dan Ashe, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; New York State Senator Brad Hoylman; and several others, including our NGO partners, African Wildlife Foundation; The Humane Society of the United States; International Fund for Animal Welfare; Natural Resources Defense Council; and the World Wildlife Fund.


“The crush in Times Square was just one of many ivory destruction events that have taken place since 1989 across the globe: Kenya, 1989; Zambia, 1992; Kenya 2011; Gabon, 2012;  U.S., 2013; Philippines, 2013; Belgium, Chad, China 2014 and 2015, France, Hong Kong, 2014; and Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, China, UAE, and the U.S., 2015.


“Governments, NGOS, and communities are uniting across continents to quash this crime, which threatens both elephants as well as rangers and local communities.


“While these ivory destruction events send important messages and destroy ivory so it cannot be traded or sold again, governments need to do more. 


“It is more important than ever that all the good will seen in the global movement to end this crisis must be channeled to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand. We must work across the entire chain of this crime, across the globe.


“In addition to its two ivory crush events -- the one in Times Square today and another in 2013 in Denver -- the U.S. is taking significant policy steps to address the elephants crisis. Only by taking strong actions to match their rhetoric can governments ensure that the traffickers won’t have a chance and the elephants will.”




Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City,  visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org; http://www.facebook.com/TheWCS; http://www.youtube.com/user/WCSMedia  Follow: @thewcs.

96 Elephants
WCS is leading global efforts to save Africa’s elephants and end the current poaching and ivory trafficking crisis. In 2013, WCS launched its 96 Elephants campaign to bring together world citizens, partners, thought leaders, and change makers to leverage collective influence to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand. The campaign, which has partners from around the world including 125 U.S. zoos, focuses on: securing effective moratoria on sales of ivory; bolstering elephant protection; and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis. www.96elephants.org