Banning Ivory Sales in America

February 18, 2014

As the second-largest market for ivory in the world, the United States recently announced that it will ban the trade within its borders through a series of new rules. The editorial board of the New York Times explores the implications.

The slaughter of the dwindling elephant herds in Africa grows worse by the year as organized criminals get rich from selling elephant tusks in lucrative black markets around the world, where a pound of ivory can fetch $1,500. African elephants, whose numbers have been reduced in less than a century from several million to an estimated 500,000, are being killed at a rate of 30,000 to 35,000 a year.

Now the Obama administration wants to ban virtually all of the elephant ivory trade in the United States.

Last week, the Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it will ban the trade in elephant ivory within the United States by prohibiting all imports and — with very narrow exemptions — exports and resales by auction houses and other dealers.

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