How New York Can Stop Elephant Slaughter
September 17, 2012
This month has seen troubling headlines: A rising demand for elephant ivory in Asia and the introduction of global criminal networks into the illegal wildlife trade in Africa are pushing wild elephants ever closer to extinction. Eight out of 10 elephants today die as a result of poaching rather than from natural causes.
As the October cover story in National Geographic, “Blood Ivory” describes, more than 25,000 of these majestic, highly social, and intelligent animals are slaughtered annually — and thousands of those are being killed for use of their tusks in statuary and religious artifacts.
What do crimes in Africa and Asia have to do with the five boroughs? More than you might care to know.
This summer, a joint investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service led to the arrest of two jewelers selling illegally-obtained ivory. In the heart of midtown’s diamond district, Vance’s staff seized a wide variety of decorative ivory with a staggering combined retail value of more than $2 million .