Thank You on Behalf of Elephants!
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Great News for African Elephants – Thanks to President Obama!
President Obama's recent visit to Kenya proved to be extremely beneficial for African elephants. We recently encouraged our supporters to contact President Obama to urge him to propose a rule to end the ivory trade in the United States and we thank you for taking action. It is a result of pressure from people like you and from conservationists around the world, along with his recent visit to Kenya, that we believe sealed the deal for him to take a firm stand against the continued slaughter of African elephants.
At a press conference in Kenya on Saturday, Obama said, "We're proposing a new rule that bans the sale of virtually all ivory across state lines."Obama's decision couldn't be timelier as this majestic species faces imminent extinction without immediate and radical action. It has been estimated that less than 500,000 elephants roam Africa today and more than 50,000 are killed each year. That translates to one bloody and violent death every fifteen minutes.
Following China, the U.S. is the world’s second largest consumer of poached ivory products. In addition to protecting elephants, the new regulations will help to promote economic growth in African countries which rely on wildlife-based tourism. It will also assist in the fight against terrorist groups that fund their efforts with money from the illegal ivory trade.
The proposed changes, which will be finalized later this year after a public-comment period, would still allow Americans to sell ivory across state lines, but only if it meets the strict criteria of the antiques exemption listed in the Endangered Species Act. The act identifies an antique as an item that is 100 years or older, that is partly or entirely composed of a species listed under the act, and that has not been repaired or modified with any such species after Dec. 27, 1973. It also must have been imported through one of 13 specific antique ports within the United States. The proposed rule also contains new restrictions on the international trade.
"The United States is among the world's largest consumers of wildlife, both legal and illegal," said Daniel Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "By tightening domestic controls on trade in elephant ivory and allowing only very narrow exceptions, we will close existing avenues that are exploited by traffickers and address ivory trade that poses a threat to elephants in the wild."