JERSEY CITY, N.J. — August 10, 2016 — Americans are uniting for change alongside New Jersey lawmakers and international government representatives on World Elephant Day, August 12, during the historic New Jersey Ivory Crush at the iconic Liberty State Park in Jersey City, home of Ellis Island and a stone’s throw away from Lady Liberty herself.
Today, elephants are being killed faster than they are giving birth. The blood ivory trade is driving elephants and other endangered and threatened species toward extinction — with conservative estimates indicating 35,000 wild elephants are being slaughtered annually — while funding terrorist organizations through profits from illicit poaching and trafficking activities.
“New Jersey is going to once again shine a light on wildlife crime,” said Jen Samuel, president of the all-volunteer nonprofit Elephants DC. Elephants DC is cohosting the event with the City of Jersey City.
In addition to publicly destroying unwanted ivory products, the New Jersey Ivory Crush will commemorate the Garden State’s contributions and exemplary leadership in protecting endangered species.
Keynote remarks will be delivered by State Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) and State Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Jersey City), the authors and champions of the Garden State’s historic ban on ivory and rhino horn commerce, which remains the strongest and only comprehensive intrastate ivory sales ban in the United States.
“I’m proud of New Jersey enlightening the rest of our country and the world to the threats to survival of elephants and rhinos and of our ban on ivory transactions and on imports of ‘trophies’ of endangered species,” Senator Lesniak said. “New Jersey is truly The Humane State.”
In 2014, New Jersey became the first state in the U.S. to pass a comprehensive ban on the commercial domestic sale of ivory and rhino horn. Senator Lesniak and Assemblyman Mukherji — two tireless animal welfare advocates — led New Jersey to do its part to protect this majestic species while strengthening national security. More recently, President Obama’s administration recently enacted a “near total” ivory and rhino horn import and export sales and interstate commerce ban and credited New Jersey and state-by-state efforts for driving these changes to federal rules.
“To end wildlife poaching and trafficking and prevent the imminent extinction of elephants and other threatened species, we must eliminate markets and profits for traffickers,” Assemblyman Mukherji stated.“That’s why we need a complete, nationwide ban on ivory commerce, following New Jersey’s lead.”
When the ivory ban sailed through the Legislature in 2014 and landed on the governor’s desk in less than three months, Governor Chris Christie agreed: “Children learn ‘E’ is for ‘Elephant’ — not ‘Extinction.’”
The New Jersey Ivory Crush will be the first public ivory crush event in which the public is invited to bring ivory to be crushed. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has hosted two ivory crushes since 2013 (one in New York City and one in Colorado). Around the world, ivory crushes have been held in Italy, the Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Gabon, France, Sri Lanka and elsewhere.
Additional distinguished speakers at the event include: Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop; David Gacheru, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Kenya Embassy Washington D.C; German Ambassador Heiko Thoms, Deputy Permanent Representative and Charge d’ Affaires of Germany to the United Nations; Gabon Ambassador Michael Moussa-Adamo; National Geographic journalist Rachael Bale; Pennsylvania Representative Rep. Madeleine Dean; artist Asher Jay, a National Geographic explorer; and teen elephant advocates Taegen Yardley, founder of A World with Elephants, of Vermont and Abby Smith of Arizona; Bill Clark of the Kenya Wildlife Service on behalf of the African Elephant Coalition; and Kate Brooks, director of “The Last Animals.” Musician John Beacher will be performing the original song, “The Elephant Call.”
At approximately noon on August 12, the ivory crush will initiate with distinguished and honored guests bringing ivory to the crusher for destruction. Vegan vendors will be on site as will drummers and information tables from various organizations across the state.
The New Jersey Ivory Crush is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to arrive as early as 10 a.m. and bring unwanted ivory to be crushed in a symbolic gesture to declare our freedom from the ivory trade.
The Humane Society of the United States joins Elephants DC as event sponsor of the New Jersey Ivory Crush.
Brian Hackett, New Jersey state director of the Humane Society of the United States, said: “This month marks the second anniversary of New Jersey’s historic ivory ban. There is no better way to celebrate this milestone than an ivory crush, a symbol of New Jersey’s continued commitment to crush the pernicious, elephant-decimating ivory trade. We are tremendously grateful for Sen. Lesniak and Assemblyman Mukherji’s continued leadership as well as Elephants DC’s commitment to saving endangered animals.”
The New Jersey Ivory Crush is also a call to action to encourage member countries of the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to enact a complete and total global ban on the sale of ivory at their upcoming meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“In America, New Jersey has paved the way in the effort to save elephants from extinction — without compromise,” said Samuel, the founder of Elephants DC and a social media specialist at Creative Marketing Alliance in Princeton Junction. “Join us on World Elephant Day in Jersey City and support the enactment of a total and complete ivory sales ban worldwide, once and for all. Extinction is real. Our silence isn’t. ”
Samuel added, “The time to speak up for elephants is now.”
Elephants DC is dedicated to ending the ivory trade worldwide while advancing elephant well-being. As an all-volunteer nonprofit, we support elephants through advocacy, education, and field support to protect critical species from extinction. Elephants DC is next heading to Gabon to support the earth’s largest remaining population of forest elephants. For more information, visit http://www.elephantsdc.org, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 484-868-8405. Connect on social media via www.facebook.com/elephantsdc and www.twitter.com/elephantsdc.