Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — In response to the killing of 35,000 elephants in Africa within the last year, a team of Bay Area elephant activists are taking action to get public awareness about the ivory trade and the thousands of animals that are dying due to the demand for elephant tusks. According to conservationists, if something isn’t done to stop the slaughter of elephants in Africa, these animals could become extinct within the next ten years. Oakland Zoo strongly supports the San Francisco March for Elephants, which is taking place on Friday, October 4, 2013 at 11:00am, with a rally following the March at 12:00pm in Union Square. The public is encouraged to gather on for the March at 10:00am in Portsmouth Square, 733 Kearny Street, San Francisco.
“On Friday, October 4th Oakland Zoo staff, volunteers and members will be joining people around the world to bring attention to the crisis facing elephants,” said Colleen Kinzley, Director of Animal Care, Conservation, and Research at Oakland Zoo. “Thousands of elephants are being killed so their tusks can be sold to buy guns and to make high value carvings. Please join us at March for Elephants – San Francisco to bring attention to this crisis and urge world leader to stop the illegal massacre of elephant. We can make a difference.”
The March for Elephants – San Francisco collation is part of an international effort to engage the public, educate, and grow awareness in regard to the elephant crisis. According to the San Francisco collation, China seeks 200 tons of raw ivory for their factories each year, which requires 20,000 elephants to be killed each year. The collation also states that the ivory trade is a billion dollar enterprise, and poaching has become a criminal operation that includes smuggling and international cartels.
Besides local support for the elephant crisis, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pledged her support, urging world leaders to work toward shutting down the ivory trade. Secretary of State John Kerry has embraced this effort along with a pledge by President Obama to establish an emergency task force to address the crisis.
About March for Elephants – San Francisco: March for Elephants is dedicated to promoting global awareness about the elephant crisis, advocating for cessation of poaching in all regions where elephants live, fiercely working to shut down the ivory trade, and raise the level of human consciousness to embrace the lives of elephants with reverence and humility. We uphold the belief that elephants are a nation unto themselves. Their lives reach beyond ours, and have meaning only they can comprehend. March for Elephants will strive to provide useful information and tools to enhance ownership and motivation for individuals who seek to carry out actions on behalf of elephants. For those who do, and for those who wish to learn about elephants, this is your community, an opportunity to find your herd. It is our fondest hope that you will join with us in our actions.
About Oakland Zoo: Oakland Zoo is always outspoken when it comes to elephants. The Zoo is home to four African elephants, three females and one male. Their names are Donna, Lisa, M’Dunda, and Osh. More than six acres make up their expansive exhibit, which includes a swimming pool, trees, hills, and areas for dust bathing, which is a natural behavior among elephants. The elephants are managed with protected contact, meaning zookeepers and elephants do not share the same space; bull hooks are not used. The animals are never forced to do anything they do not want to do; instead, they are rewarded with treats for participating with foot care, morning routines, and health exams. Ten spreads (scattering of food throughout the exhibit) are done each day to encourage foraging and exercise. Truckloads of browse or tree branches are collected and donated from surrounding areas, to ensure the proper diet is given to the animals.
Conservation Connection: Each year, Oakland Zoo honors elephants by hosting a Celebrating Elephants day event and an evening lecture. The day event’s focus is to educate the public about elephants, explain why they should not be used for entertainment, and demonstrate what it is like to research elephants in the wild. The evening lecture is a more intimate gathering that features a guest speaker, silent auction, and reception. Proceeds from these events are donated to the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, which aims to ensure the long-term conservation and welfare of Africa’s elephants in the context of human needs and pressures through scientific research, training, community outreach, public awareness and advocacy. Cynthia Moss and her research team at Amboseli have spent time in the field researching and leading the efforts to understand these intelligent and complex animals.
The Bay Area’s award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid’s activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information please visit our website at http://www.oaklandzoo.org.
Contact: Nicky Mora, Senior Manager, Marketing/PR (510) 632-9525 ext. 130 nmora(at)oaklandzoo(dot)org