Ivory trade legal in the USA

This audio file says about itself:

96 Elephants: How Long Can You Listen?

12 Nov 2013


When poachers come after elephants it’s brutal, terrifying and bloody. This stunningly raw audio recording of an elephant being pursued by an armed poacher underscores just how heartbreaking this crisis is. You can make it stop. Join us.

See also here.

Trade in dead elephants‘ teeth is not just a problem, eg, in Saudi Arabia.

From the Wildlife Conservation Society in the USA:

Did you know you can buy some types of ivory legally in the United States? Unbelievable, right? Many people think that was outlawed back in the 1980s.

But it’s true – the United States is among the largest markets in the world for ivory sales – and it’s killing elephants.

When poachers come after elephants it’s brutal, terrifying and bloody. We’ve captured this stunningly raw audio recording that underscores just how heartbreaking this crisis is.

You need to hear it for yourself to believe it – words won’t do it justice.

After you do, be sure to write Congress and ask for a domestic moratorium on ivory sales in the United States, so we can put an end to this horror.

This is the sound of an elephant fleeing an armed poacher.

The Obama Administration has taken strong steps to combat the illegal wildlife trade, and now it’s time to get Congress on board. If we’re not turning up the pressure at every level of government to stop the domestic ivory trade, we’re not doing all we can to save elephants.

Just this fall, several African nations pledged to stop the sale of ivory in their countries and called on the world to do the same. But here in the U.S., you can buy ivory in many states. Our ivory trade laws are complex and confusing, making it easy to manipulate the system and sell illegal ivory. And each year, tons of ivory exchanges hands on U.S. soil.

The equation is alarmingly simple. Selling ivory equals dead elephants. And it’s happening at a rate unmatched for decades – last year, an average of 96 elephants were killed every day in Africa. If it continues, forest elephants could be extinct within a generation.

The immensity of the crisis is hard to comprehend. But Congress can take a huge leap toward saving elephants. Tell your representatives to stop the sale of ivory in the United States.

Together, I know we can do this.


John F. Calvelli
Executive Vice President for Public Affairs
Wildlife Conservation Society

Deceber 2013: The Project for the Application of Law for Fauna (PALF) in the Republic of Congo has announced one of its most significant operations against the illegal ivory trade. This week four ivory operations supported by PALF (a collaborative organisation between UK charity the Aspinall Foundation, the Congolese Ministry of Forest Economy and Sustainable Development and the Wildlife Conservation Society) have resulted in the arrests of eight people, with more arrests set to follow. This is one of the most successful hauls of illegal trafficking criminals that PALF and The Aspinall Foundation have been involved in: here.

February 2014: More than 30 business leaders in China have taken a public stand against the ivory trade by signing a pledge to never purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift: here.

BirdLife Partner NABU engages in Africa against ivory poaching: here.

15 thoughts on “Ivory trade legal in the USA

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  4. I have truly amazing news: The Obama Administration just announced a big step towards banning ivory sales in the United States. This country is one of the largest markets for ivory in the world – I simply can’t overstate what an important moment this is in the fight to save elephants.

    The announcement comes at a time of unprecedented slaughter. New WCS data shows that a shocking 9% of forest elephants are poached each year. We already knew that 2011 and 2012 were two of the worst years for African elephants. While supporters like you have helped us ramp up protections, well-organized criminal poachers stepped up their game, too. 2013 proved to be just as deadly.

    This could be the turning point.

    The White House issued a major new strategy to combat wildlife crime, committing the full power of the United States to stopping elephant poaching and ivory trafficking, and other wildlife crime. WCS President and CEO, Cristián Samper, who serves on the Presidential Advisory Council to the Task Force, summed up this strategy perfectly when he said: “Wildlife criminals, beware.”

    Take a moment today to feel proud. This victory for elephants belongs to you. The Obama Administration formed this task force partly in response to the public outcry over the escalating poaching crisis. Together we’ve been sounding the alarm, sending over 200,000 letters in the last year alone.

    But though we’re celebrating today and this is a great first step, we still have much more to do. The Administration has done everything within its power to stop the crisis but more will need to be done. We will require state and federal legislation to strengthen penalties, governments to crack down on these criminals, and, ultimately, adequate resources to ensure domestic and global enforcement of the ivory and rhino horn ban. We won’t stop until we make sure sales of ivory have no legal place in our country while ensuring that the legislative and regulatory framework is in place to stop this senseless slaughter.

    There’s also so much more to be done to protect elephants in the wild. The crime syndicates and traders are not about to lay down their arms and admit defeat. They know the world is paying attention and could double down their efforts in response.

    We’re helping to turn the tide, but there’s so much more to be done. On average, 96 elephants are still dying every day. That’s why we’re soldiering on in the fight to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand. We’ll be working with the governments across Africa and Asia to help implement this strategy while continuing our work with the U.S. Congress and local and state government to close any existing loopholes in the ivory trade laws here in the U.S.

    I know that together we can save elephants. Whether it’s sending a letter, telling a friend about the crisis facing elephants, sharing an image on Facebook, or making a donation to support our work to protect them, every action matters. This is a great reminder of the power of our voices and our actions.

    Thanks for all you do.


    John F. Calvelli

    Executive Vice President for Public Affairs
    Wildlife Conservation Society


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  7. These are simply the facts: Africa’s elephants are being slaughtered in droves for their ivory tusks; the U.S. is home to one of the world’s largest ivory markets; and the federal ban on ivory sales is our country’s best hope at stopping the trafficking that is imperiling elephants.

    But a handful of outspoken ivory dealers are still putting their potential profit ahead of the survival of elephants.

    Their collective outcry has been gaining traction. An annual funding bill in the U.S. House includes a provision that would stop any federal action that restricts the sale of ivory.

    I can’t overstate what a threat this is, as Congress will be considering funding bills as soon as November.

    Don’t wait till it’s too late to stop this bill. Tell your Representatives NOW: Don’t kill the ivory ban >>

    Each piece of ivory represents a dead elephant, and legal markets for old ivory provide complete cover for the laundering of new ivory from recently-killed elephants.

    Even for trained professionals, it’s very difficult to distinguish antique ivory from new ivory. Quite frankly, those that trade in illegal, new ivory rely on law enforcement’s inability to determine the age of ivory and that’s exactly why elephants are facing this crisis.

    I’m convinced that more Americans value the life of an elephant over the potential value of an ornately carved statuette.

    We simply need to make sure members of Congress know it too.

    Protecting elephants means protecting the federal ban on ivory sales. Please send your letter TODAY to show your support.

    We’re making incredible progress on the ground in Africa, in China, and here at home where state bans in New York and New Jersey have already been enacted. But all this progress will mean little if we allow the federal ban to be defeated.

    Thank you so much for making your voice heard.

    John F. Calvelli
    Executive Vice President for Public Affairs
    Wildlife Conservation Society
    Director, 96 Elephants


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