Aug 21

States acting to ban ivory, protect elephants

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took a strong stand for elephants and rhinos this month by signing into law a ban on ivory and rhino horn trafficking in the state. New Jersey’s location and ports allow it to be a hub of ivory trading, making this decision even more important. This law is one of the first of its kind in the country, and sets penalties for importing, selling or purchasing any ivory or rhinoceros horn product. This law also serves to close loopholes in federal law that allow a great deal of ivory product to be disguised and traded as antique.

The total population of African elephants is estimated to be only 420,000, down from 1.2 million in 1980, with poaching incidents decreasing that number daily. Although China, where ivory prices have tripled since 2010, is the largest retail consumer of ivory, the United States comes in a close second. The best way that the United States can work to protect these species is by completely banning ivory and rhino horn sales. International efforts to work with Thailand, China, and others to close their ivory markets are also vital. Without change, extinction could be imminent. Many organizations on the ground in Africa are also working to protect these species through the use of anti-poaching units and by rehabilitating and releasing orphaned elephants and rhinos (dswt.org).

black-rhinoceros-11282318477XvGOThe importance of protecting elephants and other native African animals cannot be disputed. Not only have elephants been shown to be sentient and empathetic beings, they also have an important niche in their ecosystems. They play a vital role in regulating vegetation and use their large footprints, tusks and trunks to create pools that serve as sources of water for many other species.  Non-consumptive wildlife tourism, such as photographic safaris, also brings a large and sustainable source of revenue to African communities. Studies show that a live wild elephant brings more revenue to a country in its lifetime than is made through its tusks or trophy hunting. This makes conserving rhinos, elephants, and other native animals even more important. 

Not only is this historic law a win for these endangered species, it is also an important matter of national security as the ivory trade has been strongly linked to terrorist activity. On World Elephant Day August 12th, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a similar, but less stringent, ban into law. The federal government is also seemingly taking action to protect elephants and rhinos, as they proposed new regulations earlier this year and reportedly may release stricter rules this summer. These are encouraging steps forward in the fight against poaching and wildlife trafficking.

Hopefully, states such as California, Florida, and Illinois with port areas and large populations will be the next to take strong and decisive action against the trade in ivory and rhino horn by enacting similar bans. This, along with steps taken by the federal government to eliminate the ivory trade could help prevent African elephants and rhinos from facing extinction in our lifetimes.

 


You can take action by asking President Obama to end the legal trade in all ivory.

17 Comments on States acting to ban ivory, protect elephants

  1. Pingback: Take action before it’s too late: 5 simple ways to help save elephants from extinction | Project Underdog

  2. Teresa Bradford says:

    Ivory MUST be banned and it needs to happen NOW. There is no time to waste, elephants are on the brink of extinction, and for what? Pointless trinkets and medicines we have alternatives for.

  3. Judy Hewitt says:

    I was recently advised the U.S. has been allowing trophy hunters who kill animals with ivory to bring that ivory back into the U.S.. Apparently the U.S. government just decreased the amount of ivory a trophy hunter could bring back into this country. Stupid me! I thought we, as a nation, were trying in all possible ways to stop the killing of species on the endangered list or with questionable populations. WE ARE NOT. We are encouraging American’s to trophy hunt here and other countries. There must be zero tolerance for bringing any amount of ivory into the U.S.. I’m totally pissed and disgusted with the U.S. government for not completly stopping ALL ivory from entering this country. So any state making a law forbidding the possession of ivory is great with me.

  4. Gail says:

    This is a tragedy waiting to happen once they are gone ..you cannot bring them back ..they have feelings and are highly intelligent beings God gaves us dominion over animals to show compassion not hatred

  5. Virginia Wenzel says:

    All states should ban imports of ivory. Instead of sending aide to militarize other countries support catching and stopping poaching of ivory.

  6. the only ones who need ivory are the ones god gave it to not for sale leave them alone protect them love them we are there care takers is this what we teach our children that its ok to kill something because it has something you want not cool

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