FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Canada Refuses an Ivory Ban Motion to Protect Endangered Elephants
Prior to the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos
Vancouver Joins the Global March with a Mardi Gras for Elephants and Rhino
Vancouver, BC, September 15, 2016 – Canada was one of only four countries that objected to motion by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last weekend. The motion called for every country to ban their internal trade of ivory and would help protect elephants facing extinction due to rampant poaching. The ban is enthusiastically supported by 145 cities participating in the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos on September 24. Well over 50,000 people are expected to march in 38 countries, to coincide with the first day of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) conference
The feud between Canada, South Africa, Namibia and Japan, versus the other 213 government agencies at the World Conservation Congress, caused walkouts and threats of cancelled membership. Canada argued that the ivory ban would affect the hunting of walrus and narwhal by the Inuit in Canada’s Arctic. The two government agencies that abstained were the Canada Parks Agency and Canadian Museum of Nature.
An African elephant is killed every 15 minutes and a rhino is poached every 8 hours, sometimes enduring days of pain before death. There are fewer than 400,000 elephants and 18,000 rhinos left in the wild in Africa. At this rate, it is estimated that both species face extinction in the wild in as soon as 10 years.
While the IUCN motion is not legally binding, it is hoped that it will encourage a commitment to both an international and domestic ban of ivory trade at the upcoming conference in Johannesburg. John Scanlon, secretary-general of CITES has said the conference “is without doubt one of the most critical meetings of CITES in its 43-year history.”
Canada is a signatory to CITES but is yet to publicly state the level of protection it intends to afford elephants, when it votes at the conference. Given the significance of this year’s conference, the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos is poised to be the world’s largest demonstration to save animals. Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Sudbury, London, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax will all take part.
Elephanatics, an elephant conservation non-profit group in Vancouver, is hosting the city’s third year of participation in the Global March with a Mardi Gras for Elephants and Rhinos. The family-friendly celebration of these iconic animals facing a tenuous future, is free to attend at Creekside Park beside Science World on Saturday, September 24 from 12pm – 2pm.
Activities will be free or by-donation and will cater to all ages. Attendees can also learn how easy it is to help save the few elephants and rhinos that remain. Live music, Mardi Gras necklaces, elephant mask-making, wildlife face painting, henna tattoos, a pro-animal graffiti wall, and an elephant costume competition (for humans and dogs!) will be available. A professional photographer will give guests a photo of themselves beside a 2-metre high elephant or rhino image. Elephanatics also promise the biggest “trunk sale” of pachyderm-themed jewelry, homewares and clothing. All donations benefit the Elephant Crisis Fund – an anti-poaching initiative from Save the Elephants and the Wildlife Conservation Network.
“Can you imagine your children not ever being able to see a live elephant in the wild? The Mardi Gras is a unique opportunity to tell Canada’s CITES delegates to stand with the rest of the world and stop the poaching. Canadians don’t want a world without elephants, but we have to speak up at this event or it might be too late. Elephants don’t forget – so let’s not forget elephants,” explained Fran Duthie, Co-Founder, Education Director and Volunteer at Elephanatics.
Patricia Sims, an award-winning documentary filmmaker (When Elephants Were Young) will explain how an ivory sale price in China of CAD$1,500 per kilogram attracts international terrorist groups like the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Sims co-founded World Elephant Day (August 12). Now in its fifth year, the initiative partners with 100 elephant conservation organizations worldwide.
Film and television actor, Paul Blackthorne (“Quentin Lance” in Vancouver-filmed Arrow), will also be a guest speaker. “It is more important than ever to support awareness raising efforts which pressure governments to implement and enforce wildlife crime laws. We simply can’t be the generation responsible for the extinction of elephants and rhino,” says Blackthorne.
Also joining the speaker’s panel is NDP MLA Mike Farnworth who has tabled a private member’s bill (M-234) banning the sale of ivory and rhino horn. This bill closes a loophole that permits trade in ivory and rhino horn in British Columbia.
To tell CITES delegates to provide elephants with the highest level of protection, a petition can be signed at http://www.elephanatics.org/blog. To take part in history’s largest and most powerful global wildlife event, join the Mardi Gras for Elephants and Rhinos and demand an end to poaching on Saturday September 24 beside Science World.
Elephanatics is a non-profit organization founded in May 2013 in Vancouver. It is run exclusively by volunteers who aim to help the long-term survival of African and Asian elephants through conservation, education and action. Elephanatics first introduced Vancouver to the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos in October 2014 and has hosted the annual free event ever since. www.elephanatics.org
About Global March for Elephants and Rhinos
Global March for Elephants and Rhinos is a registered, non-profit organization in the United States. It is a grassroots, worldwide movement demanding an end to ivory and rhino horn trade. The first march was in 2013. www.march4elephantsandrhinos.org
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Contact: Tessa Vanderkop
Director of Community Engagement