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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 8, 2002
6:18 PM
CONTACT: International Fund for Animal Welfare
Jennifer Ferguson-Mitchell of IFAW, 508-744-2076;
e-mail: jfm@ifaw.org
Elephants March Down Sunset Boulevard to Protest Ivory Trade
 
LOS ANGELES - August 8 - Drivers along Los Angeles' famous Sunset Boulevard may be surprised tomorrow to see a herd of African elephants looking down on them from a massive 18' by 48' billboard, as seen through the gun sights of ivory poachers, with the message: "Stop the Slaughter! www.ifaw.org." The hard-hitting imagery of the billboard heralds the launch of a major new international campaign to protect elephants from the ivory trade by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW -- (http://www.ifaw.org), the world's leading animal welfare organization.

"It's ironic that this billboard is on Sunset Boulevard because the sun may be setting on the future of the African elephants. We need to act now to save them," said IFAW President Fred O'Regan. Five Southern African countries have announced plans to sell thousands of pounds of ivory in one-off stockpile sales, as well as the yearly sale of additional elephant ivory. Some nations have even gone so far as to call for the legal sale of elephant skins and meat. "Half of Africa's elephants were slaughtered for their ivory in the 1980s and early '90s," said O'Regan, "We cannot allow this to happen again. We are calling on the public to visit ifaw.org, where they can send protest postcards to these governments."

Some of IFAW's most influential supporters in Los Angeles and New York donated the billboard space, design and related creative elements. "We're thrilled to be a part of this campaign," said Brian Kennedy, president of Regency Outdoor, which donated the billboard space. "We hope this message will encourage residents and visitors to Los Angeles to take a moment and consider what each of us can do to help out."

"We're privileged to be involved," said Michael Burns, vice chairman, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., and a key leader of the IFAW effort. "This is about each of us stepping forward and doing what we can to ensure that future generations have the chance to see these majestic creatures in the wild, not just in zoos and picture books."

The billboard will remain at Sunset Boulevard and Horn Avenue for the month of August. IFAW plans further campaign events in Los Angeles and internationally over the next several months, through its 13 country offices. "This issue is a global one," said O'Regan, "and so is the IFAW campaign." For further information on IFAW and how you can join this important campaign to protect elephants go to http://www.ifaw.org.

Editors: For access to still images, video and more information on IFAW's global elephant campaign visit http://www.ifaw.org

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