Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Global Design Challenge: Call for Creative Ideas for Use of Crushed Elephant Ivory from U.S. Ivory Crush

September 15, 2014


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in partnership with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), today launched a global design challenge seeking creative ideas on how best to use the crushed ivory from the U.S. Ivory Crush to raise public awareness of wildlife trafficking and help reduce demand for elephant ivory and other illegal wildlife products. In November 2013, the Service destroyed some six tons of elephant ivory – all seized as a result of law enforcement investigations and at U.S. ports of entry – to send a clear message that the United States will not tolerate ivory trafficking and the devastating impact it is having on elephant populations, particularly in Africa.

“Crushing the Service’s stock of confiscated elephant ivory was a signal to the world that the senseless and brutal killing of elephants must stop,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “Now, the design challenge invites the public to use their creativity and ingenuity to reinforce that message. At the same time, the initiative underscores the important role the public can play in reducing consumer demand for elephant ivory and other illegal wildlife parts and products.”

"The Association of Zoos and Aquariums and its members are proud to partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the crushed ivory pro-bono design challenge, and will be actively encouraging and engaging the public to participate in this historic USFWS crowdsourcing effort,” said Jim Maddy, President and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). “Together, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums reach more than 180 million visitors, and are committed to a sustained effort to stop the demand for ivory. The crushed material resulted from the tragic and unnecessary death of so many elephants, but we hope we can use the material in a powerful way to educate the public, while also including them in our efforts to protect this endangered species. We look forward to hearing the ideas the public comes up with over the next month.”

"The U.S. ivory crush in November sparked ivory destruction events by nations across the globe,” said Cristian Samper, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “This design challenge shows the continuing leadership of the USFWS and AZA in efforts to address the elephant crisis."

The design challenge invites interested members of the public from the United States and other countries, including students, aspiring artists, conservationists, advertising agencies and design professionals, to submit design ideas for the use of the crushed ivory as a public awareness and educational tool. A panel of conservation, design and marketing experts will review all entries that meet the competition requirements, and select a winner. The winning design will both incorporate the crushed ivory and create a compelling, thought-provoking and informative tool to raise awareness and educate the public about the illegal elephant ivory trade. The winning entry will be produced and replicated for use in public spaces such as zoos, aquariums, airports, schools and other public facilities, as appropriate, across the United States. The final design will also be available for replication by other countries that have crushed their ivory stockpiles and want to send a similar message or stand as an example for countries wishing to hold their own design challenge.

For complete instructions and design requirements for this design challenge, go to For all questions regarding the crowd-sourcing initiative go to

Elephant poaching for ivory has escalated into an international crisis, with tens of thousands of elephants now being slaughtered each year. With revenues totaling many billions of dollars, wildlife trafficking is estimated to be the fourth largest transnational crime in the world. The United States ranks among the top transit points for illegal wildlife products and must play an active role in addressing this issue of global importance.

For more information on the Service’s efforts to combat wildlife trafficking, go to

For complete instructions and design requirements for this design challenge, go to

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