California Bans Ivory
California Governor Jerry Brown signed state assembly bill AB 96 into law yesterday, which officially bans the sale of virtually all elephant ivory and rhino horn in the state.
Though California made it illegal to sell ivory in 1977, state law still permitted the sale of older ivory imported more than four decades ago. However, the new bill finally closes that loophole.
According to the new law, the selling of elephant ivory and rhino horn, including most antiques, is now illegal. Current owners can sell ivory and rhino horn up until July 1, 2016. After that, penalties reach up to a $50,000 fine and a year in prison.
Not surprisingly, the bill — which was named for the number of elephants killed every day in Africa — was celebrated by wildlife conservationists.
“With the passage of AB 96, California is leading by example in making the ivory and rhino horn trade a thing of the past. The new law will make enforcement a far easier matter and sends a clear signal to the rest of the world that ivory and rhino horn have no value here. We thank Governor Brown for his support and call on all U.S. states to join California, New York and New Jersey in banning this destructive trade,” said Peter Knights, CEO of WildAid, in a statement.
The good news follows President Obama‘s own announcement that his government is proposing a new rule that will ban the sale of virtually all ivory across state lines, as well as the recent commitment made between the U.S. and China to end the ivory trade.
With the possibility of elephants going extinct in a decade, California’s ivory ban couldn’t happen at a better time. We just hope more states will quickly follow suit.