KCETLink Media Group, the Los Angeles Zoo and WCS’s 96 Elephants Campaign Partner for EARTH FOCUS Special “Illicit Ivory” Investigating Devastating Effects of Ivory Trade

Investigative Report on Elephant Poaching and Ivory Trade Premieres Wednesday, May 27 on KCET in Southern California and Thursday, May 28 on Link TV Nationwide

BURBANK & LOS ANGELES, Calif. – May 5, 2015KCETLink Media Group, a leading national independent non-profit public broadcast and digital network, has joined forces with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and its 96 Elephants campaign and the Los Angeles Zoo to raise awareness around the illegal poaching and wildlife trafficking crisis. The partnership centers around a special installment of American television’s longest running environmental investigative series, EARTH FOCUS titled “Illicit Ivory,” which uncovers the devastating effects of the illegal ivory trade, its impact on the dwindling African elephant population, and the link to insurgency groups and organized crime.

The “Illicit Ivory” broadcast special edition of EARTH FOCUS will premiere on Wednesday, May 27 on KCET (Southern California) at 8:30 p.m. PT and nationwide on Thursday, May 28 at 9 p.m. PT/ET on Link TV (DirecTV channel 375 and DISH Network channel 9410). Additionally, the program will be available on KCET.org/ivory and LinkTV.org/ivory.

“KCETLink Media Group is proud to present this EARTH FOCUS special and partner with such influential organizations as Wildlife Conservation Society and the Los Angeles Zoo in order to shine a light on this critical issue that is destabilizing countries and threatening one of our most majestic species,” said President and Chief Executive Officer KCETLink Media Group Michael Riley. “With illegal ivory sales doubling in the last eight years in California, this initiative supports our mission to cover local issues with global impact.”

While California viewers of EARTH FOCUS: “Illicit Ivory” will become better informed regarding the potential ban on ivory trade in their state, audiences nationwide will be given the opportunity to learn more at 96elephants.org which supports a moratorium on ivory products throughout the U.S.

WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants campaign John Calvelli said “WCS and 96 Elephants are proud to stand with KCETLink Media Group and the Los Angeles Zoo to bring the plight of elephants and the horrors of ivory poaching to the forefront. Through partnerships like these, we can marshal the forces necessary to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand.”

A special invite-only “Green Carpet” premiere screening event of EARTH FOCUS: “Illicit Ivory” will be held at the Los Angeles Zoo on May 26, followed by a panel discussion moderated by editorial writer Carla Hall from the Los Angeles Times.

“The Los Angeles Zoo is passionately dedicated to the preservation and conservation of elephants. We care because elephants are miraculous individuals,” said Director of the Los Angeles Zoo John Lewis. “They are a unique presence within the environments they inhabit as well as the Animal Kingdom. But these giants, so specialized in their adaptations, do not tolerate significant change. Mass slaughter is significant and requires that we heed this call to action to protect their futures.”

EARTH FOCUS: “Illicit Ivory” comes during a pivotal time when an elephant is killed by poachers every 20 minutes to feed an insatiable demand for ivory. African elephants may be gone in as little as ten years as a result of organized crime syndicates, rebel groups, militias and insurgents. The film also explores education initiatives letting consumers know that buying an ivory trinket means that an elephant actually has to die. A sneak peek of the program can be seen at linktv.org/ivory and kcet.org/ivory

A dedicated EARTH FOCUS: “Illicit Ivory” online content hub for each KCETLink service at http://www.kcet.org/ivory and http://www.linktv.org/ivory will present an array of programming to highlight animal conservation and elephant ivory issues, including a new original web-only exclusive piece from EARTH FOCUS correspondent Jeffrey Barbee on rhinos in South Africa’s Kruger National Park featuring the world’s first all-female anti-poaching rhino patrol. Also highlighted on both sites is EARTH FOCUS correspondent Miles Benson’s blog posting titled “Kiss The Elephants Goodbye.” The web destinations will also include related films, documentaries and news series proving that ordinary citizens can make a difference for the world.

EARTH FOCUS is a weekly half-hour program that is the longest-running environmental series on U.S. television. The series features investigative reports on the state of our planet’s environment and its impact on people around the world. Funding for EARTH FOCUS is provided by grants from the Wallace Genetic Foundation, the Orange County Community Foundation and additional individual donors. For more information about EARTH FOCUS and to watch episodes online, visit linktv.org/earthfocus or kcet.org/earth_focus

EARTH FOCUS: “Illicit Ivory” is produced by Raisa Scriabine, Jamey Warner, Kim Spencer and edited by Toni Genberg in collaboration with a number of organizations that include the Environmental Investigation Agency, International Fund for Animal Welfare, WildAid, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Invisible Children, Born Free, C4ADS and George Mason University’s Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC). Funding for EARTH FOCUS: “Illicit Ivory” was made possible with support from The Shared Earth Foundation and Victoria Stack.

To learn more, please visit kcet.org/ivory or linktv.org/ivory. Join the conversation on social media using #illicitivory #saveelephants #ivorytrade #earthfocus #96elephants and #LAZoo.


KCETLink Media Group, formed by the merger between KCET and Link Media, is a national independent, nonprofit, digital and broadcast network that provides high-quality, culturally diverse programming designed to engage the public in innovative, entertaining and transformative ways. With a commitment to independent perspectives, smart global entertainment, local communities, and opportunities for engagement and social action, KCETLink depicts people and the world through a lens unavailable elsewhere in U.S. media. A viewer-supported 501(c)(3) organization, KCETLink content is distributed nationally via satellite on Link TV – DIRECTV channel 375 and DISH Network channel 9410 – and on KCET in Southern and Central California via broadcast and cable, as well as through various digital delivery systems. For additional information about KCET and Link TV productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org or linktv.org.


MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 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: www.wcs.org http://www.facebook.com/TheWCS; http://www.youtube.com/user/WCSMedia. Follow: @thewcs.


WCS is leading global efforts to save Africa’s elephants and end the current poaching and ivory trafficking crisis. In 2013, WCS launched its 96 Elephants campaign to bring together world citizens, partners, thought leaders, and change makers to leverage collective influence to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand. The campaign, which has partners from around the world including 125 U.S. zoos, focuses on: securing effective moratoria on sales of ivory; bolstering elephant protection; and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis. www.96elephants.org


The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing 1.6 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered. Its lush grounds on 113 acres feature the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles); Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere; Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel; an Indian Rhino Encounter direct-contact opportunity; Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States; Red Ape Rain Forest, where visitors can walk among orangutans; the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo; one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world; a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants; and much more. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife. The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), which has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments, has 60,000 member households representing more than 240,000 adults and children. As evidence of the Zoo’s popularity, GLAZA attracts one of the largest membership bases of any cultural organization in Los Angeles.

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