FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Elephants and Rhinos: Going, Going… Gone
Vancouver Joins Global March for Elephants and Rhinos with a “Celebration of Life” Mardi Gras
Vancouver, BC, September __, 2016 – Vancouver-based Elephanatics, a local elephant conservation group, is hosting the third annual “Mardi Gras for Elephants and Rhinos: A Celebration of Life”. The family-friendly event on September 24 at Creekside Park beside Science World, raises awareness of the plight facing the world’s remaining elephants and rhinos.
An African elephant is killed every 15 minutes and a rhino is killed every 8 hours. At this rate of poaching, conservationists estimate they both face extinction in the wild within the next 10 to 20 years.
This year’s Global March for Elephants and Rhinos is poised to be the largest demonstration of its kind, with over 125 cities around the world holding events on September 24. This is the opening day of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting of member nations in Johannesburg, who will vote on the level of protection given to elephants, rhinos and other species facing extinction. Canada is a signatory to CITES and is yet to publicly state the position it will take at the meeting.
In Vancouver, the event will be a free admission “Mardi Gras for Elephants and Rhinos”. Guest speaker Patricia Sims, a Victoria-based award-winning documentary filmmaker (When Elephants Were Young) says, “The Global March for Elephants and Rhinos is a rallying call for people to support organizations that are working to stop the illegal poaching and trade of elephant ivory and other wildlife products; protect wild elephant habitat; and provide sanctuaries and alternative habitats for domestic elephants to live freely.”
Echoing these sentiments is Paul Blackthorne, British TV and film actor, and star of the popular, locally filmed TV series Arrow. Also a guest speaker at the Mardi Gras, he says, “The poaching crisis continues, with both elephants and rhinos heading toward extinction in ten years. This is why it’s more important than ever to support awareness raising efforts which pressure relevant governments to implement and enforce wildlife crime laws. Rhinos and elephants have been around for millions of years – we can’t be the generation responsible for their extinction. Come to the Mardi Gras on September 24 and help do your bit to save these beautiful creatures.”
Also joining the speaker’s panel is NDP MLA Mike Farnworth who has tabled a private member’s bill (M 234 – 2016) banning the sale of ivory and rhino horn. This bill closes a loophole that permits trade in ivory and rhino horn in British Columbia.
The “Mardi Gras for Elephants and Rhinos: A Celebration of Life” is for all ages and will include free and by-donation activities where animal lovers can:
- enjoy live music from local musicians
- get creative at the Mardi Gras Elephant Mask Craft Table
- encourage the kids to high-five a walking elephant mascot
- treat the family to an elephant or rhino face painting
- write their own pro-elephant message on the Mardi Gras “Graffiti Wall”
- have a photographer take their photo beside a two-metre-high elephant image
Where: Creekside Park, 1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver (beside Science World)
When: September 24th – 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm
More Information: Please visit http://www.elephanatics.org
About the Speakers
Patricia Sims – Award-Winning Filmmaker & Co-Founder of World Elephant Day
World Elephant Day (August 12) was founded with the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation of Thailand, an initiative of HM Queen Sirikit of Thailand. Now in its fifth year of global awareness building, it has partnerships with 100 elephant conservation organizations worldwide.
Paul Blackthorne – English Actor for Film, Television and Radio
Over the past three years he has collaborated with conservation organizations to raise awareness about the elephant and rhino poaching crisis. He ran two successful t-shirt campaigns: “Keep Rhinos Horny” and “Poach Eggs Not Elephants”.
Mike Farnworth – NDP MLA for Port Coquitlam
Mike serves as Opposition Spokesperson for Justice (Public Safety and Solicitor General). He is adamantly fighting a loophole allowing illegal rhino horn to be mixed and sold with legal horn that can be proven to be obtained before 1975. He recently tabled a private member’s bill at the legislature to outlaw the sale of ivory and rhino horn.
Elephanatics was formed in May, 2013. It is an elephant advocacy organization based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Its mission is to help the long-term survival of African and Asian elephants by raising awareness and disseminating information regarding the enormous challenges and suffering that elephants face in Africa’s poaching crisis and in Asia’s tourist trade. Elephanatics hosts Vancouver’s participating in the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos – www.march4elephantsandrhinos.org.
For more information or to book media interviews
Contact: Tessa Vanderkop
Director of Community Engagement
Elephant Ivory Quick Facts
Elephant Ivory Quick Facts
- Approximately 36,000 elephants are killed annually for their ivory. That is one elephant every 15 minutes.
- Canada is in the top 20 countries responsible for 97% of trophy hunting.
- Environment Canada is responsible to administer and enforce laws that prohibit or strictly limit the importation and sale of elephant products in Canada as set out in the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (“WAPPRIITA”).
- WAPPRIITA allows for extremely limited importation and sale of elephant products in Canada, however, loopholes in the laws have allowed black market traders and others to import and sell in Canada elephant products that are strictly prohibited by WAPPRIITA.
- Terrorist organizations such as the Lord’s Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group, fund their criminal activities largely through the sale of elephant ivory.
- The trafficking of protected wildlife has spiked in the past decade, leading to an annual worldwide trade worth between $10 billion and $30 billion US.
- Ivory is one of the more commonly trafficked items, and each year 35,000 elephants are killed for their tusks.
- When restricted items are discovered in Canada, they are confiscated by the Wildlife Enforcement Directorate. The directorate houses many of these pieces in a room in a secret location near Toronto. Most items are used either for educational purposes or destroyed.
- CBC’s the fifth estate obtained exclusive access to this exhibit room, and provides a guided 360-degree tour of some of the most exotic items in the collection – www.cbc.ca/news/multimedia/an-exclusive-look-inside-a-secret-wildlife-crime-exhibit-room-1.3522808