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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.
Washington, D.C., October 14, 2015 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, will be one of several groups testifying in support of a bill to ban the sale of ivory and rhino horn in Massachusetts on Wednesday, October 21. House Bill 1275, introduced by Representative Lori Ehrlich, will be heard in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.
This important legislation would restrict commerce in ivory and rhino horn throughout the state. Illegal trafficking of these wildlife products is directly responsible for shocking declines in wild populations in recent years, and this bill is a crucial step toward reducing the target market.
According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation, “Massachusetts has the opportunity to be a powerful leader on these issues. This bill is of particular importance because Boston’s port, like any entry point to the U.S., is a site where wildlife parts can be smuggled into the country and laundered as legal products. The elephant poaching epidemic across Africa has reached crisis levels and rhino poaching is escalating exponentially, so we have no time to waste in enacting legislation.”
The crisis has become increasingly severe over the past several years. It is estimated that more than 129,000 elephants have been poached since January 2012. “If the killing rate continues, certain African elephant populations could go extinct within a decade,” says Roberts.
Additionally, all five extant rhino species are in serious danger due to poaching. Africa’s black rhinos are critically endangered, with a population of fewer than 5,000. There are only 3,000 one-horned rhinos remaining in India and Nepal, and Southeast Asia’s Sumatran and Javan rhinos number only in the hundreds and tens, respectively. The horns, made of a substance akin to fingernails, are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Despite conclusive evidence that they have no curative properties, hundreds of rhinos are killed for their horns every year.
Poaching is not only a wildlife conservation and animal welfare issue, but is also directly linked to transnational criminal syndicates, according to the Born Free USA reports, Ivory’s Curse and Out of Africa. Poaching supplies $7-10 billion to a wildlife trafficking enterprise that enables terrorism, weapons, and human trafficking, feeding devastating violence and instability in Africa. Global criminal syndicates use poaching as a substantial source of funding for their brutal activities, which also threatens U.S. national security.
New York and New Jersey passed similar laws restricting the commerce in ivory and rhino horn last year, and California more recently. View a map of state action to crack down on the sale of ivory and rhino horn at www.bornfreeusa.org/ivoryinfographic.
Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.
Groups Urge President Xi Jinping to Ban Ivory Sales and Trade as an Immediate Priority
Washington D.C., July 9, 2015 -- In a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping, members of the Species Survival Network (SSN) have given a cautious welcome to the announcement by China that it will “strictly control ivory processing and trade until the commercial processing and sale of ivory and its products are eventually halted.”
SSN’s letter to the Chinese President urges him to end the domestic ivory trade in China as an immediate priority, inform his citizens of the importance of the measure, and use his influence to encourage leaders in other countries with a domestic ivory trade to do the same.
According to Will Travers OBE, President of SSN and the Born Free Foundation, “An immediate ban on the importation and sale of all ivory in China would be the single most valuable, effective and unequivocal action that could be taken to end the elephant poaching crisis in Africa.”
As many as 30,000 African elephants, and probably more, are being killed by poachers each year across Africa for their ivory. As a consequence, populations of forest elephants in central Africa are thought to have been reduced by almost two-thirds in the past decade. Further, the ongoing pan-African elephant census has highlighted huge losses of elephants in a number of countries, most recently in Mozambique which has lost almost half of its elephants over the past 5 years. In Tanzania, a reduction of 60%, or more than 65,000 animals, is reported to have occurred over the same period.
Although international trade in ivory was effectively banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix I listing of African elephants in 1989, China is one of a number of countries that continues to permit domestic trade in ivory. It has also consistently been identified as the principal destination for both legally and illegally obtained ivory since CITES permitted China to import 62 tons of ivory in a “one-off sale” in 2008. The closure of domestic ivory markets is seen as an essential component of efforts to control elephant poaching.
China has already taken steps to destroy parts of its ivory stockpile. Six tonnes of ivory were crushed in Guangdong province in January 2014 and a further 662kg in Beijing in May this year, coupled with similar decisions in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in May 2014. However on April 29, 2015, a few weeks before the recent ivory destruction, China issued a new list of 34 ivory processing factories and 130 sales outlets, with authorizations valid until the end of 2016 and subject to renewal.
The Species Survival Network (SSN), founded in 1992, is an international coalition of over one hundred non-governmental organizations committed to the promotion, enhancement, and strict enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Through scientific and legal research, education and advocacy, the SSN is working to prevent over-exploitation of animals and plants due to international trade. www.ssn.org.
Oakland, CA, June 12, 2015…Oakland Zoo and the 96 Elephants campaign praise the California Assembly for passing AB 96, state legislation that would ban the sale of ivory and rhinoceros horn in the state of California.
California is the second largest hub for ivory sales in the United States and ivory sales support the slaughter of elephants thousands of miles away in Africa. The Assembly has shown tremendous leadership by addressing this crucial issue. “Oakland Zoo commends Speaker Atkins and the Assembly for moving AB 96 forward,” said Dr. Parrott, President and CEO of Oakland Zoo. “This is a critical time for elephants and their survival, and as a progressive state we cannot contribute to their extinction. As a conservation organization focused on educating our visitors about the crisis, we'd like to thank those of you that took action with us on behalf of all elephants and rhinos to support a ban on the legal sales of Ivory and rhino horn in California.”
Oakland Zoo and the 96 Elephants collation urge continued support of AB 96, and we will continue working with lawmakers as the bill moves to the California Senate, then on to Governor Brown whom we urge to sign AB 96 into law. Californians have an opportunity to show support of this critical issue. By banning the sale of all elephant ivory and ivory products, California can raise consumer awareness, reduce poaching pressures on elephants, and set a critical example for other countries. Please, Californians, ask your state lawmakers to support AB96. This bill is named for the 96 elephants killed each day in the name of ivory. Help pass legislation to ban ivory sales in our State, go to the below link and sign the letter: https://secure3.convio.net/wcs/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=687
The goal of 96 Elephants – named after the number of elephants gunned down each day in Africa by poachers – is to stop the killing, stop the trafficking and stop the demand. Banning the sale of ivory is a key step toward stopping the demand, and California is poised to play a direct role in saving elephants from the ravages of the illegal wildlife trade.
Oakland Zoo would like to thank our fellow bill sponsors Humane Society of the United States, Natural Resources Defense Council, Wildlife Conservation Society, and the California Association of Zoos and Aquariums and its dedicated members for their hard work in supporting Assembly passage of AB 96.
ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO:
The Bay Area’s award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid’s activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information please visit our website at www.oaklandzoo.org.
Speaker Toni G. Atkins Introduces Bill to Protect Elephants and Rhinos from Poachers
SACRAMENTO–In response to the global wildlife crisis in which an average of 96 elephants are being slaughtered daily for their ivory in Africa, Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins today introduced AB 96 to close loopholes that prevent the effective enforcement of existing California law prohibiting the sale of ivory. Senator Ricardo Lara is the Principal Co-author of the bill.
“The slaughter of elephants for their tusks and rhinos for their horns is as senseless as it is cruel,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “California recognized that and enacted a law almost 40 years ago to end the ivory trade here, but that law needs strengthening in order to be effective. AB 96 closes the loophole that allows the illegal ivory trade to continue to flourish and adds real enforcement teeth to the law so California can do our part to end the slaughter.”
“Elephants and rhinos are being slaughtered and mutilated at an unprecedented rate and driven to extinction due to demand for their tusks and horns,” said Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). “If we are serious about protecting endangered species and ensuring that they will be here for future generations to appreciate, California must take a decisive step in stopping, once and for all, the sale or trade of ivory and rhinos horns.”
International, federal and state laws are all being strengthened to protect iconic species from cruelty and extinction. The states of New York and New Jersey recently enacted strong prohibitions on intra-state ivory and rhino-horn commerce and the federal government has proposed strengthened ivory trade and import regulations.
In a new report commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Elephant Ivory Trafficking in California, USA, the investigator examined more than 1,250 ivory items offered for sale by 107 vendors in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He found that up to 90% of the ivory for sale in Los Angeles and approximately 80% in San Francisco was likely illegal under California law—much of it advertised as antiques and/or crafted to look older so it would appear legal, though the pieces were more likely from recently-killed elephants. Additionally, the incidence of what appears to be ivory of recent manufacture roughly doubled from approximately 25% in 2006 to about 50% in 2014.
AB 96 would prohibit a person from purchasing, selling, offering for sale, possessing with intent to sell, or importing with intent to sell elephant ivory or rhinoceros horn, except as specified under very limited educational and scientific circumstances, and would make this prohibition enforceable by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The bill would make a violation of this provision a misdemeanor subject to specified graduated criminal penalties. In addition to the specified criminal penalties, the bill would authorize the department to impose a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for a violation of this provision or any rule, regulation, or order adopted pursuant to this provision.
AB 96 is supported by a host of community, environmental, and animal protection groups including the NRDC, The Humane Society of the United States/Humane Society International, Wildlife Conservation Society, California Zoo & Aquarium Association, Oakland Zoo, and the Asian Pacific Alliance for Wildlife & Sustainability. Additionally, nearly a dozen state lawmakers including wildlife policy committee chairs in both the Assembly and the Senate have already signed on as co-authors of AB 96.
The provisions of AB 96 would become operative on July 1, 2016.
What others are saying:
“We are grateful to Speaker Atkins and Senator Lara for pursuing closure of the loophole in California’s decades-old ivory ban that has allowed this pernicious trade to flourish in our state,” said Jennifer Fearing, a consultant with The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International. “Californians don’t support trade here in products that put elephants and rhinos in jeopardy of cruelty and extinction.”
“It’s shocking how much ivory is being sold in California. Up to 90% of the ivory being sold in Los Angeles and 80% in San Francisco is likely illegal, according to an independent study commissioned by NRDC, with much of it being altered to look older so that it will appear legal,” said Elly Pepper, an NRDC wildlife advocate. “Too much ivory is slipping through the cracks. It’s time for California to do more to protect the lives of elephants, and we are thrilled to see the California legislature take this huge step.”
Said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants campaign: “The Wildlife Conservation Society and the 96 Elephants campaign praises Speaker Atkins and Senator Lara for their leadership in moving toward passing a statewide ban on ivory. We are driving these magnificent animals toward extinction across Africa unless we stop the killing of an estimated 96 elephants each day, stop the trafficking and stop the demand for ivory. As long as demand for ivory remains high and enforcement efforts are low, the legal trade will continue to serve as a front for criminal syndicates. A California ban on ivory sales is an important step forward in this global effort to save elephants.”
“Research shows that Asian Pacific Americans are among the strongest supporters of conservation and environmental protection. On behalf of Asian Pacific Americans everywhere, the Asian Pacific Alliance for Wildlife & Sustainability (APAWS) is proud to support Speaker Toni Atkins’ AB 96 to close down illegal ivory trafficking in California that contributes to the cruel global decimation of elephants and other precious wildlife,” stated Judy Ki, chair of APAWS.
Website of Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins: www.asmdc.org/speaker
New Jersey has emerged as a powerful leader, says Born Free CEO
Washington, DC, August 5, 2014 – Governor Chris Christie signed S. 2012 into law today, ending the sale of ivory and rhinoceros horn in New Jersey. This bill, introduced by Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-20) and Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33) and endorsed by Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, sets a historic precedent for state action on the devastating wildlife parts trade.
According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “New Jersey has emerged as a powerful leader on these issues. This new law is of particular importance because the port of Newark is a hub for illegal wildlife trade. The elephant poaching epidemic across Africa has reached crisis levels and rhino poaching is escalating exponentially, so we have no time to waste in enacting legislation. I hope that other states will follow this example. We are grateful to Governor Christie for signing this bill into law.”
The new law entirely eliminates the trade in ivory and rhinoceros horn, except where this authority is superseded by federal regulations. Illegal trafficking of these wildlife products is directly responsible for shocking declines in wild populations in recent years, and this bill is a crucial step toward reducing the target market.
According to Born Free USA, the elephant poaching crisis has become increasingly severe over the past several years, and it is estimated that more than 86,000 elephants have been poached since January 2012. “If the killing rate continues, certain African elephant populations could be extinct within a decade,” says Roberts. “As proven in our recent groundbreaking report Ivory’s Curse, illegal ivory trafficking is exploited by transnational criminal networks that enable terrorism, weapons, and human trafficking, feeding devastating violence and instability in Africa.”
Assemblyman Mukherji, sponsor of the Assembly bill, said, “Terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab, The Lord’s Resistance Army, and Janjaweed, are funding their operations with profits from poaching and the illegal ivory trade. With New Jersey ports serving as a hub for illegal wildlife trafficking and our proximity to New York City, the largest ivory buyer in the country, we as a legislature needed to act now.”
Additionally, all five rhino species are in serious danger due to poaching. Africa’s black rhinos are critically endangered, with a population of fewer than 5,000. There are only 3,000 one-horned rhinos remaining in India and Nepal, and Southeast Asia’s Sumatran and Javan rhinos number only in the hundreds and tens, respectively. The horns, made of a substance akin to fingernails, are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Despite conclusive evidence that they have no curative properties, hundreds of rhinos are killed for their horns every year.
Senator Lesniak, a leader in wildlife trafficking legislation, stated, “Illegal ivory threatens the very existence of elephants on the face of the earth. We know [this bill] will be an inspiration to other states, Congress, and indeed other countries in the world to follow our lead.”
Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation” — the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free USA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org,www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.
Born Free USA CEO weighs in on CITES meeting July 7 to 11
Washington, D.C., June 25, 2014 -- Citizens from all 180 nations represented at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will monitor the upcoming deliberations of the CITES Standing Committee in Geneva (July 7 to 11, 2014) where decision-makers and politicians will meet to debate the future of some of the planet’s most threatened species.
According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and acting CEO of Born Free Foundation, “CITES delegates have an amazing opportunity in Geneva to address the issues of endangered species conservation – the startling statistics of the wildlife trade will surely make anyone’s blood run cold.”
Roberts explains, “As many as 50,000 elephants were gunned down for their ivory tusks last year. The horn of a rhinoceros, coveted for its alleged medicinal properties, is fetching $60,000 a kilo on the black-market, leading to unabated slaughter. The demand for tiger body parts is causing population decimation, with just 3,500 remaining in the wild. All of these issues and more require urgent attention from CITES.”
Organized criminal syndicates, money laundering, and corruption mean that tackling the illegal trade in these vulnerable species is highly complex. Ivory’s Curse, a recent report commissioned by Born Free USA, highlights alarming links between government-led militias, terrorist groups, and elephant poaching.
Elephants: “Born Free’s delegation will be calling on CITES to suspend debates about future legalized trade in elephant ivory,” explains Roberts. “Experiments to allow ivory trade in recent years have failed appallingly. Africa’s elephants are worse off today than ever before. I strongly believe this is a direct result of the international community’s failure to maintain a strong and comprehensive ban on any ivory trade. We need proactive measures such as those adopted in the Elephant Protection Initiative; ivory stockpile destruction; investment in enforcement; and we must demand eradication.”
Asian elephants will be in the spotlight at CITES, with calls for action to be taken against the illegal capture and smuggling of wild-caught infant elephants into the “domestic trade” where they are brutally trained before being touted for unsuspecting tourists to ride. There is an urgent call for domestic laws to be strengthened and enforced to prevent the laundering of illegal animals into the legal marketplace.
Cheetahs: Another strong focus for Born Free will be the illegal trade in cheetahs, which are being smuggled live out of the Horn of Africa. Earlier this year, CITES agreed to organize a multi-stakeholder workshop to address this problem, an initiative that Born Free fully supports.
Tigers: When it comes to tiger issues at CITES, the problems are all too clear. Roberts says, “Repeated requests for information from governments regarding the measures being taken to address tiger conservation have resulted in inadequate responses, at best. This has severely hampered further action by CITES, but aside from that it has become patently obvious that tigers captive bred in Thailand, Laos, China and Vietnam are feeding into the illegal domestic and international trade.”
There are now over 6,500 tigers in these horrendous “farms,” supplying a market which in turn fuels further poaching of the world’s remaining 3,500 wild tigers. Once again Born Free will do its utmost to ensure this issue gets priority attention at July’s meeting and that a serious commitment is made, as required, to stockpile destruction and closure of these notorious ‘tiger farms’.
Rhinos: Another pressing issue remains the plight of wild rhinos, victims of high levels of poaching for their horns. In 2013, over 1,000 rhino were poached in South Africa alone, and so far this year the deadly total has exceeded 440. While the Standing Committee will be considering a number of measures designed to close existing trade loopholes, many, including Born Free, are calling for a complete ban on all trade, including trophies, and the destruction of rhino horn stockpiles.
“CITES has a mammoth task on its hands, and while talk is good, it is now time for resolute action before it’s too late,” says Will Travers OBE, President of Born Free. “We need to give imperiled species such as rhinos, elephants, tigers and cheetahs a fighting chance. For some species the notion that they can, in some way, continue to endure the added pressure of controlled or limited legal trade while numbers continue to plummet is an idea that has lost credibility. The time for experimenting with the exploitation of our natural wildlife heritage is over. CITES is uniquely placed to take a leading role and to act in the best interests of these and many other species, rather than the financial interests of wildlife poachers and profiteers.”
The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos. The Foundation rescues animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care. Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles and many more species in their natural habitat, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict. The Foundation’s high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. More at www.bornfree.org.uk
Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation” — the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film “Born Free,” along with their son Will Travers. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org; www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa; and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.
Washington, D.C. (June 23, 2014) – Jeffrey Flocken, North American Regional Director, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), issued the following statement regarding a bill passed last week by the New York state legislature which bans the sale and purchase of elephant and mammoth ivory and rhino horn:
“A big victory for endangered elephants and rhinos, as New York enacts a landmark law to ban the sale of ivory and rhino horn.
These bans are important tools for regulating, and, we hope, eventually ending the ivory and rhino horn trade. Every 15 minutes on average, an African elephant is slaughtered for its ivory tusks to support a mass consumer demand. Rhinos, which are also poached for their horns, are similarly threatened. The U.S. ranks as one of the largest ivory consumers in the world and New York serves as one its biggest entry points and markets.
Promising regulations are gathering momentum at the federal level. As one of the first states to pass such legislation, New York is carving a path for others to follow.
We love New York’s actions and congratulate and thank our coalition partners in encouraging the passage of these bills.”
To learn more about IFAW’s work to crush the ivory trade, please visit http://www.ifaw.org/united-states/our-work/elephants/ending-ivory-trade.
About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis 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 Facebook and Twitter.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Washington, D.C. – April 29, 2014) – An open letter to President Obama published today in the Washington Post expresses support for the Administration’s proposed new rules to halt domestic ivory sales. Signatories on the letter include high-profile individuals, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Goodall and Dave Matthews, alongside a coalition of businesses and conservation organizations representing millions of Americans.
Representatives of the coalition issued the following statements:
Jane Goodall PhD, DBE, Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger Peace, said: “The mass poaching of elephants in Africa should be of great global concern. I applaud the US ban on ivory in its intent to counter the devastating toll on dwindling elephant populations in the wildand address the physical and emotional suffering of these intelligent and highly social animals. It is my hope that this strong move by President Obama will encourage other countries to do whatever it takes to endthe demand for ivory products – from wild elephants – within their own borders.”
Iain Douglas-Hamilton, DPhil, OBE, and Founder of Save the Elephants, said: “At the heart of the elephant poaching crisis is the seemingly insatiable demand for their tusks. Closing the door to the illegal ivory trade in the U.S. is an important step towards saving elephants, and signals to the world that the continued existence of elephants must be valued above mere ivory trinkets."
Dr. Patrick Bergin, CEO – African Wildlife Foundation said: “If we want all countries to make a commitment to living elephants by getting tough on the ivory trade, then the United States, as one of the largest ivory markets in the world, must lead by example. We commend the Administration for setting the tone on this issue—that the U.S. values living elephants above the profit from dead ones. We can live without ivory; elephants can’t.”
Azzedine Downes, President and CEO, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said: “The Administration appreciates the difference between a carved statue and a living, breathing elephant, and the proposed US ivory rules would help ensure that this planet doesn’t lose its most iconic animal for the sake of souvenirs. If implemented, these new rules would significantly reduce the amount of illegal ivory smuggled into and sold in this country, and would set an example for the rest of the world.
“Americans across the political spectrum agree with this effort, and now is the time to implement the strongest possible protections for elephants and other endangered wildlife.”
Charles Knowles, Executive Director, Wildlife Conservation Network said: “With over 30,000 elephants killed last year for their ivory, it is time for the world to do something to stop the slaughter of one of the world’s most intelligent, sensitive and self aware animals. Their future depends on a global coalition to develop and deploy well-funded, strategic and efficient actions to address the growing demand for ivory, its trafficking and ultimately poaching of elephants. We support the US government’s leadership in these efforts.”
Jim Maddy, President and CEO of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums
“AZA-accredited zoos connect people with elephants and help raise awareness about the conservation issues these incredible creatures face in their natural ranges,” said Jim Maddy, President and CEO of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. “The ivory rules proposed by the Obama Administration are an important step. Now we need to do what we can to educate people on what they can do to help end the illegal ivory trade.”
Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund said: “There are just too many loopholes in the current system for Americans to feel secure that the ivory they buy or sell is not connected to the ongoing slaughter of elephants in Africa.
“If we hope to influence this issue globally, we have to get it right here in the United States. The illegal ivory trade is fueled by organized crime. By placing restrictions on ivory sales, the Administration is making a commitment to not tolerate the senseless slaughter of wildlife and the global criminal syndicates profiting from it.”
Cristián Samper, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society and a member of the U.S. Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking, said: “WCS thanks the Obama Administration for its strong action to eliminate ivory sales and to save elephants. We thank the thousands of U.S. citizens who are making a difference by backing an ivory ban and joining the 96 Elephants.org Campaign, and we encourage all to make their voices heard. Just in New York State, we know that more than 80 percent want an ivory ban based on a recent poll. This ban is important in the United States and we need clear, decisive action to save these magnificent animals. Along with our partners, we are committed to stopping the killing, stopping the trafficking, and stopping the demand.”
It is estimated that between 25,000 and 50,000 elephants are killed for their ivory each year, resulting in fewer than half a million elephants remaining in Africa’s savannas and
jungles — a drastic plunge over the last 50 years.
About African Wildlife Foundation
Founded in 1961, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is a leading conservation organization focused solely on the African continent. AWF’s programs and conservation strategies are based on sound science and designed to protect both the wild lands and wildlife of Africa and ensure a more sustainable future for Africa’s people. Since its inception, AWF has protected endangered species and land, promoted conservation enterprises that benefit local African communities, and trained hundreds of African nationals in conservation—all to ensure the survival of Africa’s unparalleled wildlife heritage. AWF is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Kenya and registered as a 501(c)(3) in the United States. For more information, visit www.awf.organd follow us on Twitter @AWF_Official and Facebook at facebook.com/AfricanWildlifeFoundation.
About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis 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 Facebook and Twitter.
Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN)
WCN’s mission is to protect endangered species and preserve their natural habitats by supporting entrepreneurial conservationists who pursue innovative strategies for people and wildlife to co-exist and thrive.
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and six other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) MISSION:WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.VISION:WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth.To achieve our mission,WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit:;;; follow:.