New York, NY, USA, August 3, 2017—Today, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and a coalition of other wildlife conservation organizations partnered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to crush nearly two tons of illegal elephant ivory confiscated through state enforcement efforts.
The ivory tusks, trinkets, statues, jewelry and other decorative items, representative of approximately 100 elephants being killed, were crushed in Central Park while the public gathered to watch, sending a clear message that the state will not tolerate wildlife crime that threatens to wipe out Africa’s dwindling elephant population.
"The State of New York is showing today that they are standing by their commitment to save elephants,” said Jeff Flocken, International Fund for Animal Welfare, North American Regional Director said. “The killing won't stop until the demand for ivory ends, and today's crush sends a statement that New York and all the partners gathered here are working to make the end of ivory markets a reality. Ivory belongs on elephants. Period."
New York was the first, of now seven, states to pass state legislation ending the sale of ivory. Since state legislation was passed, NYDEC enforcement efforts have led to a dramatic reduction in illegal ivory sales – going from being the leading US ivory market to the third.
"These actions make it clear that in New York, we condemn the depraved, violent and illegal industry that is ivory sales," Governor Cuomo said."The ivory crush along with our vigilant enforcement efforts take us one step closer to ending this senseless slaughtering of animals - I urge other leaders across the nation and across the globe to join us is working to protect these magnificent threatened species for generations to come."
It is also clear that an overwhelming majority of Americans feel the same way in opposing ivory sales. Recent polling by IFAW found that nearly 80% of Americans support prohibiting ivory sales in the U.S.
The crush comes as federal and state initiatives are underway to curtail the ivory and other wildlife trade in the U.S. IFAW has played a critical role in passing bans in the top three states for illegal wildlife trade – New York, California and Hawaii – in addition to New Jersey, Washington, Oregon and Nevada and continues to forge ahead fighting for stronger protections for wildlife everywhere.
About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on social @action4ifaw and Facebook/IFAW.