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Cleveland Metroparks Zoo marks World Elephant Day with 1,000 messages

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo makes a statement for "96 Elephants Campaign".
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo makes a statement for "96 Elephants Campaign".
Mark Horning & Co. Photography

Zoo joins world wide effort to send 96,000 messages to public officials

Cleveland Metroparks made a statement to the Ohio State Legislature by sending 1,000 elephant illustrations that were created by children in the Zoo’s Summer Day Camp program. The campaign is part of a world wide effort in celebration of Elephant Day as part of the “96 Elephants Campaign” by sending 96,000 messages to public officials in the U.S. in support of a ban on the sale of ivory.

On Tuesday, August 12, 2014, State Representative Mike Dovilla (who serves House District 7) was presented with the 1,000 elephant illustrations to deliver to the State Legislature in Columbus, Ohio in support of a state wide ban on the sale of ivory and ivory products. “96 Elephants Campaign” is so named due to the fact that on average, 96 elephants are slaughtered for their ivory each and every day.

"The Zoo has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of guests per year with our conservation messages," said Executive Zoo Director Chris Kuhar. "World Elephant Day gives us the chance to re-focus on one very specific message, about banning the sale of ivory, and driving that message home."

The Zoo and Zoo Society has dedicated themselves to the conservation of elephants in the wild as well as being involved in several projects in Africa. This includes creating elephant corridors that freely cross political boundaries that connect national parks located in different nations and the educating of local populations on the benefits of eco-tourism as a means to self sufficiency and a deterrent to poaching. Within the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, guests can view elephants close-up at its African Elephant Crossing exhibit which is designed to help inspire people to care about the conservation of the animals’ wild counterparts.

The wild African elephants like the found at the Zoo are classified currently as “Vulnerable” while Asian elephants are classified as “Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Along with the threat from ivory poachers, elephants are being pressured due to habitat loss and separation due to human encroachment into their grounds for agricultural and commercial development.

Northeast Ohio's most-visited year-round attraction, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with hours extended to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Admission is $12.25 per person, $8.25 for kids ages 2 to 11 and free for children younger than 2 and Zoo members. Parking is free. Located at 3900 Wildlife Way, the Zoo is easily accessible from Interstates 71, 90 and 480.

For more information, visit clevelandmetroparks.com/zoo or call (216) 661-6500.