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By: The Elephant Sanctuary

World Wildlife Day 2017

The Sanctuary honors global accomplishments in the past year, and looks to what’s next.

Elephants are wild animals with complex physical and social needs not supported by the training, performing, confinement and travel demanded of elephants in entertainment. In other words, At The Sanctuary, we believe that elephants—and all wild animals—should remain wild.

However, across the globe, elephants are facing unprecedented threats to the continuation of their species. In an effort to increase understanding of and support for conservation efforts to protect elephants in the wild, The Sanctuary collaborates with and supports international organizations on four continents: Africa, Europe, Asia, and South America.

Thanks to the incredible work being done by caring individuals and organizations worldwide, huge strides were made in 2016 to protect elephants from poaching, human-elephant conflict, and habitat degradation.

The Elephant Sanctuary is celebrating World Wildlife Day—Friday, March 3—by honoring this important work, and asking you to continue to raise your voice, and speak out for those that can’t speak for themselves.

A timeline of efforts and decisions that effected elephants in 2016:

April 29, 2016: Kenya showed that it has zero-tolerance for the illegal ivory trade by torching 105 tons worth of ivory—this was the largest ivory burn in history.

May 2, 2016: Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus retired its elephant herd and discontinued the act. They acknowledged that the decision to remove performing elephants was prompted by the public’s rapidly changing opinion about the use of wild animals for entertainment.

July 6, 2016: A near-total ban on commercial trade in African elephant ivory went into effect in the United States.

July 20, 2016: Rhode Island banned the bullhook.

August 29, 2016: California banned the bullhook.

September 24-October 5, 2016: The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals, made the following decisions at their 2016 conference in South Africa:

  • An overwhelming majority voted NOT to extend the mandate to continue an 8-year debate on creating a process to legalize ivory trade in the future.
  • CITES agreed to recommend countries should urgently close their domestic ivory markets, the first time ever that CITES agreed on closure rather than just regulation of national markets.
  • A process to develop guidance on management and disposal of ivory stockpiles was also created.
  • Two proposals that would have allowed ivory to be traded legally on a global scale in the future were rejected.
  • Botswana, one of the four countries with elephants on Appendix II and who had formerly voted against up-listing elephants, came out in favor of an Appendix I listing.
  • Swaziland proposal to open up trade in rhino horn was unequivocally rejected.
  • Unfortunately, elephants did not get up-listed to Appendix 1, a failure to afford them the strictest protections under international law they so desperately need and deserve.

Source: http://march4elephantsandrhinos.org/cites-cop17/

December 30, 2016: China announced that it is banning all commerce in ivory by the end of 2017, a move that would shut down the world’s largest ivory market.

Small actions can have big impacts! #DoOneThingToday that can help with wildlife conservation – get informed, consume responsibly, volunteer, donate, or simply post about what #WorldWildlifeDay means to you.

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