World Elephant Day, Aug. 12, recognizes urgent plight of elephants pursued for ivory

World Elephant Day

NEW YORK – Saturday, August 12, is World Elephant Day. While it should be an occasion that celebrates the beauty and grandeur of African and Asian pachyderms, it is instead an urgent call for action.

In spite of global efforts to protect elephants, their populations are rapidly plummeting. One elephant is killed every 15 minutes to fuel an unprecedented global demand for ivory products. The Great Elephant Census, funded by Paul Allen’s Vulcan, Inc., shows that African savanna elephant populations are down 30% in the last seven years. Also, The IUCN’s African Elephant Status Report estimates that elephant population in 2015 was 93,000 lower than in 2006, with poaching for ivory as the main driver of this decline.

Wildlife trafficking has quickly escalated into a multi-billion-dollar criminal industry, ranking as the fourth most profitable transnational crime, following only the drug trade, arms trade, and human trafficking. Research has shown that many of the criminal syndicates involved in illegal wildlife trade are also engaging in these other transnational crimes. Money from the illegal wildlife trade has been linked to terrorist organizations, drug lords, gangs, and governmental corruption—all at the expense of wild animals, the environment, and our national security. Unfortunately, although only one in five Americans is aware of it, the United States plays a large role in the trafficking crisis as one of the world’s largest markets for illegal wildlife products.

LiveAuctioneers was one of the first US technology companies to partner with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and, later, join the US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (USWTA). Its live-bidding platform is used by more than 4,000 auction houses and galleries in 47 countries, so the company’s efforts to prevent the sale of illegal ivory are potentially global in impact. But the fight is a difficult one that requires being one step ahead of poachers and all others who profit from the sale of brutally harvested ivory.

“As a partner in the USWTA, LiveAuctioneers is always thinking about how to do good while doing well,” said LiveAuctioneers Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product. “Our recent investments in technology, in particular the development of advanced search capability, have brought record traffic to That same technology is now helping us locate, identify and prevent the sale of illegal ivory and other products sourced from protected species.”


World Elephant Day

Despite the global embargo on elephant ivory that has been in place since 1990, the rate of elephant slaughter for tusks is at a crisis point. In this picture, three female African bush elephants travel as a small herd in Tanzania. Photo by Ikiwaner, taken July 29, 2010, licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.


Now in its sixth year of global awareness-building, World Elephant Day has inspired millions of participants to show their concern about the plight of elephants and do whatever they can to help. This year, the Alliance is organizing, and participating in, a variety of activities to raise awareness about elephants and the poaching crisis.

Everyone can do their part in the fight against elephant slaughter and ivory poaching. The USWTA suggests:

  1. Sharing a social media post
  2. Visiting the Be Informed Buy Informed webpage for a guide to wildlife and plant products to watch out for when traveling, including types of jewelry, carvings, souvenirs, etc.
  3. Clicking and sharing ads from the selection available on the Be Informed Buy Informed webpage
  4. Writing a blog or newsletter
  5. Publicizing and attending TossTheTusk events near you
  6. Donating to a recognized elephant conservation group

#   #   #

About the USWTA:

The U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (USWTA) is a coalition of nonprofit organizations and high-profile companies that work closely with the U.S. government to combat wildlife trafficking by raising public awareness, reducing consumer demand for wildlife and wildlife products, and mobilizing others others within their respective business sectors to adopt best practices and help close off wildlife traffickers’ supply chains. is helping the Alliance to achieve its mission by developing and implementing state-of-the-art technology to locate, identify and prevent the sale of illegal ivory and other products from endangered species.

About LiveAuctioneers:

Founded in 2002, digitally connects an audience of millions with the live-bidding action at more than 4,000 premier auction houses and galleries in 58 countries, providing a highly curated and trusted marketplace of unique items. Privately owned and headquartered in New York City, LiveAuctioneers is the world’s preferred online source for fine and decorative art, antiques, jewelry and vintage collectibles. The LiveAuctioneers Seller Success Optimization (LASSO) program is one of many innovative efforts implemented by LiveAuctioneers to support its buyers and sellers.

Read More:

Two tons of seized ivory crushed in protest against illegal trade

China’s ivory ban signals hope for elephants

Prince William charity urges ivory ban

US government bans commercial trade in ivory, with exception for qualifying antiques

Ex-professor ordered to pay $500K fine for smuggling ivory

LiveAuctioneers partners with eBay, Google and Etsy on White House panel addressing illegal wildlife trafficking