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Zoo New England’s Franklin Park Zoo Invites Public to ‘Toss the Tusk’ to Save Elephants

toss the tusk montageTo protect elephants and raise awareness about the illegal ivory trade, Franklin Park Zoo will host an ivory surrender event on Oct. 5, 2019 to encourage public participation in the fight to save elephants from wildlife trafficking.

Toss the Tusk will be held on October 5 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Franklin Park Zoo. Participants should go to the Giraffe entrance located on Pierpont Road. The surrendered ivory will be transported to a national repository and will then be destroyed or used for educational purposes, ensuring it will never enter the consumer market.

Wildlife trafficking is a global crisis that is putting elephants at risk of extinction. It is estimated that approximately every 25 minutes an elephant is killed to fuel the massive illegal ivory trade. Since 2007, the illegal ivory trade has more than doubled with the U.S ivory market ranking among the top worldwide.

“Wildlife trafficking is a brutal, bloody practice that is decimating elephant populations in the wild. There is only one place where ivory belongs and that is on elephants,” said Cynthia Mead, Zoo New England Executive Vice President of External Affairs and Programming. “We would like to encourage members of the public to safely surrender their unwanted ivory during Toss the Tusk to show that they stand with elephants and are doing their part to ensure that ivory is taken out of the marketplace, in turn reducing the demand.”

Zoo New England is working with a coalition of partners to pass legislation in Massachusetts to ban the sale of ivory and rhinoceros horn, ensuring that the Commonwealth does not contribute to the global poaching crisis. This legislation mirrors 2016 federal ivory trade regulations, which were adopted to address the devastating and escalating threats to African elephants, and is critical as federal law does not regulate intrastate trade in ivory and rhino horn creating gaping enforcement loopholes. Ten states, including New Hampshire, have already implemented similar laws.

“The urgency is great. Modern day extinctions are happening. If we wait too long to act, elephants will follow the sad fate of the Northern white rhino, which is now extinct in the wild,” said Mead.

Nationwide ivory surrender events are being organized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) / Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (WTA), with support from the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Zoo New England’s Franklin Park Zoo joins seven other AZA-accredited zoos across the country holding Toss the Tusk events so that the public can bring their unwanted ivory to be properly disposed of.

“Biologically, it is impossible to prevent the extinction of these species without immediate human intervention to protect them from the demand for their ivory. These animals simply cannot reproduce quickly enough to make up for the devastating losses due to poaching,” said Mead, who added, “Zoo New England is committed to the conservation of all species, and strives to inspire caring and action in people of all ages on behalf of wildlife. We want to ensure that future generations grow up in a world with majestic and iconic species such as elephants.”