JOHN DELANEY: (1-718-220-3275; jdelaney@wcs.org)
WCS Praises Vote on Ivory Bill by California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water
Bill now goes to Appropriations Committee
State bill would enable California to play a critical role in ending the current poaching crisis driving elephants toward extinction
NEW YORK (June 23, 2015) – The following statement is from John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants Campaign:
“WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) and the 96 Elephants campaign praise the California Senate’s Natural Resources and Water Committee for voting favorably today on legislation that would ban the sale of ivory and rhinoceros horn in the state of California. In particular, we commend Committee Chair Sen. Fran Pavley for her support and leadership on this critical conservation issue.
“With today’s action, the Senate brings California one step closer to shutting down its commercial ivory market, one of the largest in the United States. This legislation, AB96, is named for the number of elephants killed each day in Africa by poachers. The 96 Elephants campaign, a partnership of more than 195 groups, was organized in the fall of 2013 to stop the killing, stop the trafficking and stop the demand for elephant ivory in the United States and around the world. 
“Despite a 1989 ban on trade in new ivory by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the killing of elephants has escalated in the past decade. Because the ivory of newly slaughtered elephants is nearly impossible to distinguish from older legal ivory, criminal networks worldwide have been able to launder illicit material. The legal market has been used to cover up an illegal market. Banning the sale of ivory is a key step toward reducing California’s contribution to the illegal wildlife trade ravaging elephants, rhinos, and other species.
“WCS and 96 Elephants urge continued support of AB 96 and we look forward to working with the bill’s co-authors Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Senator Ricardo Lara to ensure its swift passage by the California Senate and subsequent signature from Governor Brown. We are especially grateful to the hard work of our conservation colleagues at the Humane Society of the United States, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Oakland Zoo, and the California Association of Zoos and Aquariums and its dedicated members in supporting passage of AB 96.”
About the 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/TheWCShttp://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 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. The WCS campaign 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