Ivory Belongs on Elephants

Every day, 96 elephants are killed in Africa—that’s 35,000 a year. The Wildlife Conservation Society finds that the demand for ivory has caused the slaughter of 65 percent of all forest elephants over the last decade. African forest elephants now face extinction in the next 10 to 20 years.


It is with a great deal of sadness that we report that the ivory/rhino horn legislation that everyone worked so hard to pass did not make it out of the House of Representatives. We appreciate everyone’s help and support. We are not giving up and neither should you! Until such time as Massachusetts passes a law to protect consumers from being part of a $7+ billion wildlife trafficking industry, consumers must protect themselves - which in turns protects such magnificent creatures as elephants, rhinos and other animals being harvested for trinkets and jewelry.  Elephant ivory is often intentionally mislabeled as bone, wood, mammoth, mastodon and fossil ivory. Until laws are passed to ensure these claims are true, refraining from purchasing any elephant ivory, rhino horn, mammoth, mastodon, or marine ivory such as walrus or narwhal, is the only way to guarantee we are not contributing to this destructive industry. We must not stop fighting for the lives of these incredible animals with our voices and our choices.

The Crisis

Wildlife trafficking is an escalating global crisis fueled in part by the U.S. ivory market – one of the largest globally.

A rhino is killed for its horns every nine hours in South Africa, and approximately 96 elephants are slaughtered for their tusks daily—that’s one every 15 minutes. In fact, if poaching continues at the current rate, scientists estimate some African elephant populations will be extinct within the next few decades. All five rhino species are already endangered, with some species on the brink of extinction.

Elephant and rhino poaching is a brutal and bloody practice – animals are chased with helicopters and shot down with military-grade weapons, and tusks and horns are cut off faces of sometimes still-living animals.

Illegal ivory trade activity worldwide has more than doubled since 2007 and tripled since 1998, and Massachusetts plays a role in this market. The wildlife trafficking business has become so widespread that 37 countries and hundreds of organizations, including Zoo New England, have joined together to stop the killing, stop the trafficking and stop the demand for ivory.



October 2, 2017:
A coalition of leading animal welfare and conservation organizations and experts will gather at the State House on Oct. 2, to discuss results from an investigation of illegal ivory sales and urge the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture to support S.450 and H.419, Acts Relative to Ivory and Rhino Horn Trafficking.

The Ivory Free Massachusetts coalition, including the MSPCA-Angell, Zoo New England, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Wildlife Conservation Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, International Fund for Animal Welfare, The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, will lead a press conference to underscore the proposed legislation’s importance in stopping the global poaching crisis that is fueled in part by the Massachusetts ivory market.


August 3, 2017: Ivory Crush
We joined fellow AZA and wildlife conservation organizations for the Ivory Crush in New York City’s Central Park. More than two tons of seized illegal ivory was destroyed as the statement was made that wildlife crimes will not be tolerated by the United States. Learn more.

You Can Help

Zoo New England supports the Wildlife Conservation Society's efforts to protect these vanishing species. WCS is steadily bolstering methods of protection, including ivory-sensitive sniffer dogs, radio-collaring, high-tech field tools, helicopter surveillance, and highly trained ecoguards.

How can we help?
First, educate ourselves, our children, our neighbors. Bring the cause to the attention of our Massachusetts legislature, where legislation to ban the sale and trade of ivory in our Commonwealth can be accomplished. Let the popular TV program Antiques Roadshow know that we oppose the subtle commercialization of the elephant’s precious ivory as appraisers announce the monetary value of carved ivory artifacts. 

Today’s pianos have a message to give us. Sixty years ago, premiere piano manufacturers like Steinway and Baldwin abandoned the tradition of capping piano keys with ivory. They found that the new high-quality plastics were superior in many ways to the material from tusks of slaughtered animals. The music didn’t stop just because the ivory left the keyboards. And living elephants and rhinos is music to our ears.

Visit 96elephants.org to learn more and "join the herd" of supporters.

Video: 96 Elephants- A Killing at the Bai

Please note, video includes graphic content.

Just for Kids

 Elephant Expedition

Virtually enter the Central African Rainforest of Gabon to help researchers find and count elephants. Using your data, researchers can better understand elephants’ movement patterns and population size to help save this majestic species. Enter the rainforest!


There's an elephant in the room!

Download and print your own elephant mask. You'll need the following tools for this project:

  • Printer
  • Scissors
  • Tape or Glue
  • String
Download and Print

Turn your handprint into your very own elephant!
Here's what you'll need:

  • Scissors
  • Markers or Crayons
  • Pen or Pencil
  • Tape or Glue
  • White Paper
  • Background Paper
Download Instructions

Take the Pledge

Download our coloring sheet and take the pledge to save elephants and rhinos.

Download and Print

Be sure to check out our Kids' Corner for more arts, crafts and animal facts!

96Elephants Coloringsheet (1)


Zoodopt an Elephant or Rhino

Elephantzoodopt BoxOur Zoos spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on hay, grain, produce and other special diets to feed our animals. Through your generosity, Zoodoption helps us defray some of these costs and provide excellent food, care and enrichment for all of our animals.

With each elephant and rhino zoodopt, you'll receive more information about these amazing species and the ivory crisis that threatens their existence. While we do not have elephants and rhinos on exhibit here at our Zoos, ZNE is working to raise awareness and protect them from extinction.

Zoodopt Today!