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Zoo Visitors Learn About Plight of African Elephants

Seneca Park zoo patrons watched a live stream from Times Square Friday morning, where conservation groups and representatives of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service crushed more than a ton of confiscated ivory.

Zoo director Larry Sorel said there was a very specific message behind the demonstration.

"That the ivory has no value, really, other than to an elephant. It is not the kind of thing that you want to have in your house as artwork. They used to use it for piano keys, and have moved away from that. It's just symbol that it's better to crush the ivory and have it go away than to sustain the murder of 96 elephants a day."

The Seneca Park Zoo has been a longtime partner of 96 Elephants, a campaign to raise awareness about the number of African elephants that are killed every day.  Sorel said if that rate continues, African elephants will be extinct in ten years.

Veterinarian Dr. Jeff Wyatt said if the Seneca Park Zoo's resident elephants, Genny C, Lilac, Moki and Chana did not reside there, they would most likely have been killed for their ivory.

Last year, New York became the first state to ban the sale of ivorywith few exceptions.

The Seneca Park Zoo collects donations year round from zoo patrons which go directly to anti-poaching efforts.  Proceeds from some items in the zoo's gift shop also benefit that effort. 

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.