Posted August 2016
In response to a sharp uptick in the poaching of African elephants over the last decade, the Obama Administration took action in 2016 to ban the import, export, and sale across state lines of most elephant ivory. Such transactions are now illegal in the United States. Obama Administration Takes Bold Step
The import, export, and sales across state lines of rhinoceros horn is also banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
To do all we can to protect elephants and rhinos in the wild involves eliminating the market for their products. This means individual states will have to pass their own laws making the intrastate sale of ivory and rhino horn illegal.
These states have already passed this legislation:
While these state laws vary in scope, each make it illegal to sell most elephant ivory and rhino horn statewide. It's time for Wisconsin to follow suite. The United States is the second largest market for ivory in the world. It is also a significant destination for rhino horn. You can do your part to end the sale of these items and help protect animals in the wild.
If you agree, please show your support by following the link below and adding your name to say:
The legal market for ivory and rhino horn in the United States and internationally creates a cover for the illegal killing of these animals and the sale of their products. Most of the illegal ivory purchased throughout the world is sold on the legal market. Poachers know there's not enough old ivory on the market (imported before 1976), which is still legal for sale in much of the world, so they kill elephants in the wild to meet demand. Over the last decade, as consumer demand for ivory has increased worldwide, poaching has also increased dramatically.
It is nearly impossible to tell how old raw or worked ivory is. Poachers can easily disguise newly-harvested ivory and make it look old. They sell it to dealers who offer it for sale in their shops and claim it was obtained legally. Likewise, rhino horn is often trafficked through the United States on its way to Asia, where there's been a sharp uptick in demand over the last decade.
By eliminating the legal market for ivory and rhino horn in the United States, poachers will have fewer places to sell their product and animals' lives will be saved.
In 1913, there were an estimated 10 million elephants (great elephant census) in the wild. By 1979, there were only about 1.3 million remaining, due in large part to mass killing associated with ivory demand in the United States. By 1989, the elephant population had fallen to about 600,000.
Knowing it had to act to save this species, the international community banned the ivory trade in 1989. Demand for ivory was reduced and elephant populations slowly increased. However, in 2008, CITES announced it would allow a one-time legal sale of 108 metric tons of stockpiled ivory to China and Japan from four African countries. This move was intended to add legal ivory to the Asian market and curb the remaining black-market suppliers and the poachers they depend on. Instead, it had the opposite effect.
Since the legal sale took place, illegal ivory production has increased by about 66 percent.(phys.org) After the sale, demand for ivory soared, since it was available legally and had greater visibility to the general public. The presence of legal ivory in the market also made it easier to hide illegal ivory from authorities, leading to an increase in elephant poaching. It is estimated that 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory from 2010 to 2012, a rate far greater from the previous decade. The elephant population in Africa has fallen to as low as 419,000.
Currently 96 elephants in Africa are killed for their ivory every day. That's one every 15 minutes. More elephants are being killed annually than are being born. If the slaughter of elephants continues at this rate, within 25 years, they could be extinct.
Rhinos face similar obstacles to their long-term survival. Currently, three out of the world's five rhino species are listed as "critically endangered." Rhino poaching has also increased drastically over the last decade, and today only about 29,000 rhinos remain in the wild. However, it's not too late to reverse course and save these animals from extinction. By passing a law which prohibits the sale of an item containing ivory or rhinoceros horn in the state of Wisconsin, we can help ensure future generations are able to enjoy and appreciate these magnificent animals.