A Future for Elephants in the Wild?
Did you know you can still buy ivory legally in the United States? Unfortunately it’s true, and the sale and demand of ivory is causing the African elephant population to drop at an alarming rate every single day. Here at the Houston Zoo, we are committed to protecting animals outside of our zoo gates, and African elephants are in serious need of our support.
Our Houston community has helped save elephants from extinction by simply telling our Texas representatives to ban the sale of ivory and ivory products in the United States. Our initiative to gain 2,500 signatures to send to our local congressman and representatives to urge them to ban the sale of ivory and ivory products in the United States was successful and we actually got 3,215 signatures!
Thank you for your generous support to ensure a future for elephants in the wild. Because of you, we were able to raise $250,000 in 2013 and we are continuing our work in 2014 to help protect elephants in the wild. The 3,215 signatures you provided to help stop the sale of ivory in the United States has already made 2014 a banner year!
Join Us in Our Effort to Save Elephants in the Wild
The Houston Zoo cares for a herd of 7 Asian Elephants and is dedicated to protecting our herds’ counterparts in the wild. We partner with elephant conservation efforts worldwide to ensure the survival of the species. Each year the Houston Zoo holds an annual fundraiser to support wildlife conservation efforts both locally and globally. This year we are focusing on a time-sensitive, critical mission: saving elephants from extinction.
Our goal is to continue to raise funds in support of a wide range of conservation programs to reduce poaching of elephants, support local community efforts, and strengthen community education efforts in regions where our field partners are working on the ground to help elephants in the wild. With your support, we can make a real, measurable impact in the regions where elephants need our help the most.
Threats to Wild Elephants
Elephants face a number of threats globally, including habitat loss, conflict with humans, and illegal poaching.
Elephants are poached for ivory, which is made from the tusks of elephants. Poaching has increased dramatically over the past few years due to a large demand for ivory based on its growing value, as well as its traditional and religious worth. In order to stop the ivory trade, it is important to address the demand for the product while changing attitudes towards the value of elephants in the wild.
In Asia and Africa, elephant habitat is decreasing at a rapid rate. Palm oil plantations are largely the source of habitat loss in places like Borneo, where tracts of rainforest are continuing to be cut down in order to farm palm oil. Humans and wildlife, particularly elephants, are often in conflict because elephants can disturb their crops.
Solving the Problem
We partner with conservation groups who work to reduce these threats and promote harmony between humans and wildlife. One example includes working with local villagers to humanely protect their crops from elephant disturbances. New efforts, such as using beehives on fence lines to ward off curious elephants, show success in reducing elephant crop raids.
The Houston Zoo supports programs that hire local community members for anti-poaching efforts to monitor and protect wild elephant populations. To preserve elephants in areas where poaching for ivory is prevalent, it is vital to not only protect elephants but support the local communities as well.
On the island of Borneo, we assist the Kinabatangan Elephant Conservation Unit in working with local communities and elephants to raise awareness, mitigate conflicts, and give farmers the tools and training they need for elephant-friendly crop protection.