Fifth-Grade Boys Raise Money To Help Save The Endangered Asian Elephant

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Donation to be presented Via Skype on June 8

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Elephants need people to help them, and these boys deserve recognition for their efforts.

Alex Rines and Vinnie Christiano, best friends and fifth graders at Lindbergh Elementary in Kenmore, NY, have led an effort to raise $500 for elephant conservation. The International Elephant Foundation (IEF) today announced that matching funds that will increase this contribution at least tenfold are pouring in. The final tally will be announced on Wednesday, June 8th at 2:15 EST, when the fifth graders of Lindbergh Elementary will present their donation via Skype to IEF board member Daryl Hoffman and his elephant staff of the Houston Zoo.

“We are very proud of our boys for leading this fundraiser for a cause so worthy and we believe in as moms! It's an honor to know our children care about things other than the TV, hand held video games, and such. They definitely know there are people, places and animals that need help and they are determined to make a difference!” said Denise Rines.

“Through bake sales and other activities and with their classmates this has become a big effort in their school, and their fifth grade teacher would like this to be a learning experience about conservation and philanthropy that these kids can carry on to adulthood.”

In partnership with the International Elephant Foundation, the leading non-profit organization dedicated to funding elephant conservation and research programs around the world, Alex, Vinnie and their fellow students decided their contribution could do the most good by supporting research into Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV).

“We are so impressed with Alex and Vinnie,” said International Elephant Foundation (IEF) Executive Director Deborah Olson. “Elephants need people to help them, and these boys deserve recognition for their efforts.”

About Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV)

EEHV is an often fatal disease that usually infects baby elephants in zoos and in the wild. In zoos where the virus has been studied the most, this elephant-specific disease has a mortality rate estimated between 80 and 90% and has been the cause of death of approximately 25% of the Asian elephants born in North America since 1978. In North
America there are only 8 elephants known to have survived the disease. IEF, in partnership with Smithsonian Institution, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Cornell University, and Baylor College of Medicine, has been at the forefront of finding treatment and prevention measures to stop this lethal disease.

Elephants in the Classroom via Skype/Announcement of Matching Funds

Multiple IEF donors including the Buffalo Zoological Gardens, Denver Zoological Gardens, San Antonio Zoological Gardens & Aquarium, Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, Dickerson Park Zoo, Dallas Zoo, Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, Elephant Managers Association, Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey have been so impressed with Alex and Vinnie’s efforts, that each is going to match the money raised by Alex and Vinnie. In addition, the Greenville Zoo and individual board members of IEF have each contributed $100 growing the original donation by over ten times. The final amount will be announced on Wednesday, June 8th at 2:15 EST, when the fifth graders of Lindbergh Elementary will present their donation via Skype to IEF board member Daryl Hoffman and his elephant staff of the Houston Zoo. During this Skype conference call the children will be able to interact with elephant handlers, learn more about the cause that they are supporting and ask questions.

About the International Elephant Foundation

As a non-profit organization dedicated to elephant welfare, IEF solicits donations to fund worthy conservation and research projects worldwide. To learn more about IEF or to contribute to elephant conservation efforts, visit IEF’s website at http://www.elephantconservation.org. With minimal administrative costs, IEF is able to dedicate more than 90 percent of its budget directly toward elephant conservation programs worldwide.

Contact: Deborah Olson, IEF, (817) 237-9034

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Deborah Olson
IEF
(817) 237-9034
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