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Join The Fight To Save Elephants By Surrendering Ivory

The Association of Zoos & Aquariums, AZA’s Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (WTA), and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) have teamed up for a series of ivory surrender events across the United States in 2023. These events will help raise awareness about the devastating effects of elephant poaching and the illegal trade of elephant ivory.

Join The Fight To Save Elephants By Surrendering Ivory

The Toss the Tusk initiative encourages the public to help save elephants from wildlife trafficking by bringing their unwanted ivory to be properly disposed of. The public is invited to surrender their ivory at three leading zoos accredited by AZA – San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Dallas Zoo, and Saint Louis Zoo. By surrendering elephant ivory, individuals ensure that these products will never be made available for sale, keeping these majestic animals alive for generations to come.

Toss the Tusk Events Across The US In 2023

The Toss the Tusk events will take place at three AZA-accredited zoos. These events are scheduled as follows:

  • March 3rd, 2023 – San Diego Zoo
  • April 14th, 2023 – Dallas Zoo
  • August 11th, 2023 – St. Louis Zoo

Elephant Populations Are At Risk Due To Ivory Trade

Thousands of elephants are killed each year to fuel the global demand for ivory. As a result, African elephant populations alone have fallen from an estimated 12 million a century ago to around 415,000 individuals as of 2016. Worldwide demand for ivory is decimating elephant populations and supporting international criminal syndicates. International commercial trade in elephant ivory is prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). In the United States, elephants are protected by the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The African Elephant Conservation Act and other laws further restrict the ivory trade.

Worldwide Efforts To Save Elephants Are In Place

Due to global conservation efforts, poaching rates have been slightly, yet steadily, declining over the past few years across Africa. However, we are still losing elephants faster than they can reproduce. It is essential to act quickly and effectively to secure a future for elephants. Removing ivory products from the market can help keep elephants alive for generations to come.

AZA, WTA, and USFWS Partnership: Toss The Tusk Initiative

“Worldwide demand for ivory is decimating elephant populations and supporting international criminal syndicates around the globe,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. “AZA and WTA are honored to partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and three world-class AZA-accredited zoos on these important public events. In a very real way, consumers hold the key to ending the scourge of wildlife trafficking. By putting our actions in line with our values, we can work together to protect this treasured species today and for future generations.”

The Impact Of Toss The Tusk Events

In 2016, a near-total ban on the commercial trade of African elephant ivory went into effect in the United States. However, these regulations do not restrict the personal possession of ivory. If you already own ivory, such as an heirloom carving that’s been passed down in your family or a vintage musical instrument with ivory components, you can still legally own those pieces. Toss the Tusk events allow individuals to properly dispose of any unwanted ivory in their possession.

The 2023 event series follows previous Toss the Tusk events held at eight AZA-accredited U.S. zoos between 2019 and 2021. Combined, those events collected over 600 unwanted wildlife items from the public. Members of the public who surrender their ivory at the Toss the Tusk events can take an active role in combating wildlife trafficking while ensuring that elephants, and other at-risk species, are protected and conserved for future generations.

About the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA)

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit

Mr Zoo News
The Editor-in-Chief of ZooReviews with a passion for zoos, conservation and species preservation. Mr Zoo has worked with zoos around the world to help develop enrichment programs, along with helping to build zoo volunteer organizations across South East Asia.

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