AZA News Releases

Ivory Surrender Events Invite Public to ‘Toss The Tusk’ to Save Elephants

Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and Wildlife Conservation Society announce a series of public events that draw attention to the elephant poaching crisis and illegal trade of elephant ivory

SILVER SPRING, Md. – A coalition of conservation organizations are teaming up with AZA-accredited zoos to organize a series of ivory surrender events that encourage public participation in the fight to save elephants from wildlife trafficking.  Taking place at leading zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) across the U.S., the public will be able to bring their unwanted ivory for proper disposal.

The events are being organized by AZA’s Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (WTA), with support from longstanding leaders in conservation including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

“Worldwide demand for ivory is decimating elephant populations and supporting international criminal syndicates around the globe,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO, Association of Zoos & Aquariums. “AZA’s Wildlife Trafficking Alliance is honored to partner with leading conservation organizations and AZA-accredited facilities on these important public events. Because demand for ivory products is driving elephants toward extinction, 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 elephants and other treasured species for the benefit of our planet, our security, and future generations.”

Today’s announcement is a significant step forward in the effort to save elephants.  One elephant is killed approximately every twenty-five minutes to fuel the voracious global demand for ivory products.  The United States is a significant market for these products, which means that demand from American consumers has a tremendous influence on whether elephants will become extinct within our lifetime.  By surrending ivory people have in their homes, ensuring it will never hold value in the market, the public can send a strong signal to the world that elephants are worth more alive. 

According to Beth Allgood, IFAW U.S. Country Director: “A recent national survey conducted by the Beekeeper Group found that nearly 75% of Americans support the U.S.’s near-total ban on ivory trade, and of those few that were opposed, 44% said it was because the ban doesn’t go far enough. Ending U.S. demand for ivory is critical to ensuring a future for elephants and “Toss the Tusk” events provide a proactive and meaningful way for the public to clearly show that they value elephants over ivory. ”

Said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director of WCS’s 96 Elephants Campaign:  “We believe ivory belongs on one thing: living elephants. Through a unique partnership between the Zoo community, ‘Toss the Tusk’ gives the public a direct opportunity to take a stand for elephants and be part of this global movement to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand. Together, we will save these animals from extinction.”

The list of Toss The Tusk locations and dates are below:

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Colorado Springs, CO

September 28, 2019

Franklin Park Zoo

Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Boston, MA

Los Angeles, CA

October 5, 2019

September 22, 2019

Nashville Zoo

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

Nashville, TN

Eatonville, WA

October 19, 2019

October 26, 2019

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium

Tacoma, WA

October 26, 2019

Reid Park Zoo

Tucson, AZ


San Diego Zoo

San Diego, CA




About Association of Zoos and 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 ten 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

About International Fund for Animal Welfare

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans, and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate, and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organizations, and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at

About Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.

About Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (WTA)

The Wildlife Trafficking Alliance is a coalition of more than 70 leading nonprofit organizations, companies, and AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums that work together to combat wildlife trafficking by raising public awareness, reducing consumer demand for wildlife and wildlife products, and mobilizing companies to adopt best practices stop wildlife trafficking. WTA is a program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Posted by Ashley Jones at 7:00 AM
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