A Ton of Ivory Turned Into Trinkets

January 17, 2014

The U.S.’s confusing web of ivory trade laws remains easy to manipulate—and helps keep New York City as one of the world’s largest ivory markets.

Despite international commercial trade in ivory being outlawed since 1989, New York City remains a hub for international poachers. Ivory can still be sold legally if it was “harvested” before the ban, and illegal sale of ivory is classified as a low-level felony, with no prison time. The ivory imported into the city is sold to foreign markets and within America, prolonging a direct link to the elephant poaching crisis in Africa.

On January 16th, the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation held a hearing on wildlife trafficking. Many experts testified, including WCS’s Liz Bennett, Vice President for Species Conservation, who highlighted the need for stronger restrictions for ivory trade in New York. Such reforms by New York lawmakers would set a critical example for other state and federal lawmakers as well as for other countries fighting to control their own ivory markets and protect elephants.

Read the full article on the New York Times >>

Read Liz Bennett’s testimony >>
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