“Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service takes the unprecedented step of pulverizing nearly six tons of elephant ivory stored at the National Wildlife Property Repository in Colorado. With this bold action, the United States government joins a small group of nations – the Philippines, Kenya, and Gabon – that have destroyed their ivory stockpiles to confront the multimillion dollar illegal ivory trade. This trade, increasingly the domain of large global criminal syndicates, has been responsible for the loss of some 76 percent of all African forest elephants in the past decade. Across Africa, elephant range states are calling for a moratorium on the sale and purchase of ivory. As a global leader in the fight to confront this crisis, the United States must do the same.
“To end the elephant poaching crisis, we know that we must take a three-pronged approach: stop the killing, stop the trafficking, stop the demand. That effort takes a giant step forward today, particularly on the trafficking segment, as the U.S. demonstrates its own commitment to eliminating the market for illegal ivory. More can be done domestically to stop trafficking, including instituting a moratorium on all ivory sales within the U.S.
“African elephants, alone, are being lost at an unprecedented rate and the demand for ivory shows no decline. Approximately 35,000 elephants were killed by poachers last year – some 96 elephants each day.
“Our government is increasingly sending a clear message to ivory traffickers. I encourage everyone to join the campaign at 96elephants.org to help us enact a moratorium on ivory trade within the U.S.”
The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.
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