The New York State Legislature has passed a landmark legislation today, which bans the sale and purchase of elephant ivory and rhino horn.
New York is the largest ivory market in the United States, only slightly behind China on a global scale. The legislation will not only ban all sales and purchases of ivory and rhino horn in the state of New York, but will also enhance federal efforts to tighten the elephant ivory trade ban on a national level.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimate that close to 35,000 African elephants were slaughtered last year for their ivory tusks.
The conservation group Save the Rhino International reported that the total population of rhinoceroses living in the wild has plummeted to a mere 29,000 worldwide because their is such a large market for rhino horns.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WSC), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) all praised the New York State Legislature for passing the legislation.
WSC President and CEO Cristián Samper, who also serves as a member of The President’s Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking, said that “[t]oday, the New York State legislature has made history passing a strong, balanced ivory ban in the U.S. New York has shown global leadership on this issue and has made a stand to protect these magnificent creatures.”
“The brutal and ongoing practice of slaughtering African elephants for their tusks may seem distant, but just recently we saw an ugly and vivid example of this practice as one of the world’s most recognized elephants was shot down in Kenya. New York State is the biggest market for ivory in the United States, which is the second-biggest market in the world. By making it harder for traffickers to sneak illegal ivory onto the market, the state is doing its part to ensure that the world’s remaining elephants are not massacred for trinkets and trophies,” said Elly Pepper, Wildlife Advocate for NRDC.
Brian Shapiro, New York state director for HSUS said that “[w]e applaud the New York State Legislature for its leadership and overwhelming support. New York residents should take pride in this important legislation that protects elephants and rhinos, cracks down on wildlife traffickers and ends New York’s role in the deadly international elephant ivory and rhino horn trades.”
The last step to finalize the legislation is to send it to New York Governor Cuomo, who is anticipated to sign it into law.
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