London, January 15, 2013 – Born Free Foundation, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, has launched a compelling website, www.bloodyivory.org, revealing the shocking truth behind the criminal illegal ivory trade and the challenges facing elephants throughout their natural range.
Will Travers OBE, the charity’s Chief Executive Officer, acknowledged: “The ivory trade is a brutal business, devastating entire elephant families, causing massive suffering to individuals - and now severely impacting populations in all four regions of Africa. This is putting some of these most vulnerable populations at risk of extinction. www.bloodyivory.org shows the world what is really happening to elephants and encourages all compassionate people and ‘Elefriends’ everywhere to lend their voices to the chorus declaring: NO MORE IVORY TRADE.”
www.bloodyivory.org has been updated and expanded, and features new information exposing the depth of this ongoing crisis. Recently, news out of Kenya reported that an insidious criminal cartel had wiped out an entire family of 12 elephants for their ivory in the worst single incident of its kind in the country.
On 5th January, Hong Kong’s customs seized 779 ivory tusks weighing more than a thousand kilos and valued at more than £900,000. This, the most recent of the four largest seizures in 4 months (which total a staggering 12 tonnes) is clear evidence that Asian demand continues to drive brutal elephant poaching and ruthless international profiteering.
Meanwhile, human lives are also lost as well-armed poachers have gunned down park rangers in Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and elsewhere across Africa.
Virginia McKenna OBE, Founder and Trustee of the Born Free Foundation, expressed her sadness over the current plight of African elephants and called on the international community and the public at large to fight for elephant protection.
In a statement released today, McKenna said: “Elephants are living treasures. Nature’s gardeners. Nature’s great teachers. For many, the symbol of Africa. Tragically some people don’t give a damn. They prefer the dead trinket to the living treasure. It’s all about bloody ivory.”
This vital new site includes a petition calling on the Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora) to reject any future proposals for trade in ivory and to support improved protection for elephants. The 176 CITES Parties will meet this March in Bangkok and elephant ivory trade will be high on the agenda. The Born Free team will attend this critical meeting to fight for elephant conservation.
Travers concluded: “There are currently 38 African countries with wild elephant populations. Within 5 years I estimate between 5 and 10 could see their elephants disappear forever unless intensive action is taken. Elephants need ‘Elefriends’ now more than ever. I urge everyone to visit www.bloodyivory.org and make their voice heard before it’s too late.”
FOR ALL PRESS ENQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT THE BORN FREE FOUNDATION PR DEPARTMENT:
Shirley Galligan, PR Director T: +44 (0) 207 792 9668 M: +44 (0) 7773 848352
Kate Chapman, PR Officer T: +44 (0) 1403 240170 M: +44 (0) 7920 195512
Will Travers, CEO M: 07774 891926
Gabriel Fava, Programmes Support Coordinator T: 01403 240170
Notes to Editors:
About the Born Free Foundation:
The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos. We rescue animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care.
Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles and many more species in their natural habitat, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict. Our high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. For more information about Born Free please visit: www.bornfree.org.uk