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Admission: $14 Adult | $8 Child

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Open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission: $14 Adult | $8 Child

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96 Elephants

Posted on 08/04/2016 at 04:10 PM by Blog Author

Ivory, is hard white material found in the tusks and teeth of mammals. While ivory can be found in mammoths, hippos, some whales and wart hogs, the biggest source of ivory is elephants.

96 elephants are killed every day in Africa for their ivory. In 2012 alone, 35,000 African elephants were killed by poachers. This is said to be the largest massacre since 1989 when an international ban on the commercial trade of ivory was first put in place. 


Photo Credit: (Julie Larsen)/Wildlife Conservation Society

While ivory has a long history of uses, today it is demanded for jewelry, ornaments, art and for use in traditional medicines despite many studies proving that there is no medicinal value in ivory of any kind. The ivory trade makes millions of dollars each year from poachers brutally killing elephants. The demand for ivory not only assists in the trafficking of wildlife, but also aids in the trafficking of illegal drugs and arms as well. 

Think this is an issue that doesn’t hit close to home? Think again. The United States is the second highest consumer of ivory in the world and the trading of ivory is still legal here. Now, the only trading that is considered “legal” is the trading of ivory over 100 years old or ivory that was imported before the commercial ban in 1989. However, it is extremely difficult to determine the age of ivory, meaning that the demand and desire for it is still very high. But we can change this. 


Photo Credit: (Julie Larsen)/Wildlife Conservation Society

 A task force called 96 Elephants was created to a stop to all of this. Joined together by 207 partnerships within the US, 96 Elephants is using their resources to create awareness and educate people on the issue across the globe. Through this organization, we aim to pass a law against all trafficking of ivory in the United States. Goals are that if the trafficking of ivory becomes illegal, it will decrease the demand for it and bring an end to the killing of these innocent animals.

Blank Park Zoo is a proud supporter of 96 Elephants and has done a lot to help contribute to this cause. In fact, in 2015, the zoo proposed a ban on the sale of ivory in Iowa. Sadly, the bill did not advance. Since then, we have been spending great amounts of time and effort raising awareness. So far the zoo has collected over 2,100 signatures, 800 drawings and 500 statements from Iowans in support of a ban on the trading of ivory.


Photo Credit: (Julie Larsen)/Wildlife Conservation Society

At the current rate, elephants will be extinct within 10 years. Elephants are the largest land mammal in the world and have a very slow reproductive rate. Gestation periods can take anywhere from 18-22 months, producing just one calf at a time. It then takes the female another four years before she can reproduce again. This is why it is so important that we get ahead of this issue and save this species while there is still time. And you can help.

Come out to the Zoo on August 6th for a day full of education and fun in honor of elephants. We will be having an Elephant and Rhino Appreciation Day to celebrate World Elephant Day on August 12th and World Rhino Day on September 22nd. You can help make a difference without even realizing it!

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