FINALLY: The U.S. Bans The Sale Of Elephant Ivory
The U.S. just made a real move to stop the slaughter of elephants.
An addition to the Endangered Species Act almost entirely bans the sale of elephant ivory, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFW) announced on Thursday. The American public has been hell-bent on making this law a reality.
"Since we proposed this rule in 2015, we received more than 1.3 million comments from the public, demonstrating that Americans care deeply about elephants and overwhelmingly support African elephant conservation," said USFW director Dan Ashe.
An elephant is killed every 15 minutes for his tusks, and the U.S. is the largest ivory market in the world other than China, according to the USFW.
Previously, domestic ivory sales were considered legal if the elephant died of natural causes or the ivory was imported before 1978 - exceptions that were easily exploited because the distinction is invisible and somewhat meaningless. The new law limits elephant ivory sales to certain manufactured items like musical instruments and guns that contain less than 200 grams of ivory and antiques more than 100 years old. According to Ashe, these items don't drive poaching.
"Our actions close a major avenue to wildlife traffickers by removing the cover that legal ivory trade provides to the illegal trade," he said. "We still have much to do to save this species, but today is a good day for the African elephant."
The U.S. isn't the only country sending a strong message that elephants are worth more alive. Last month, Kenya burned an unprecedented 105 tons of elephant tusks and rhino horns, representing about 7,000 slaughtered animals.