Elephants need US! President Obama Must Stay Strong on Ivory


Save The Elephants

Date Published

On April 29th a group of the world’s most prominent scientists, celebrities, companies and conservation organizations posted an open letter to President Obama in the Washington Post and The Express. The letter thanks the President for his recently announced decision to greatly restrict ivory markets in the US, and asks him to stay strong on this promise.

The coalition includes such well-known individuals as scientists Jane Goodall and Iain Douglas-Hamilton, actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio, and musician Dave Matthews, along with eleven companies, foundations and organizations committed to helping save elephants. The effort was ably coordinated by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

Until now, complicated rules have made it nearly impossible for law enforcement agents in the United States to oversee the domestic elephant ivory market. A raft of new regulations announced by President Obama will be a big step towards eliminating legal loopholes. If implemented, they will significantly reduce the amount of illegal ivory in the US.

The new rules will require sellers in the US to prove that the ivory is antique – so that it is clear the elephant ivory didn’t come from a recently-poached elephant. Possession of elephant ivory will still be legal in the US and can be given away or passed on as an inheritance, but all commercial imports are now banned.

The fight has not yet been won. Some of the rule changes have not yet been finalized and we will have to advocate that law enforcement officials are provided adequate resources to enforce the new policies, and to educate the public about the rules. Some special interest groups have opposed the new regulations, but 80% of Americans support prohibiting ivory sales in the US to protect African elephants (according to a 2013 poll).

Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants, said: “At the heart of the elephant poaching crisis is the seemingly insatiable demand for their tusks. Closing the door to the illegal ivory trade in the U.S. is an important step towards saving elephants, and signals to the world that the continued existence of elephants must be valued above mere ivory trinkets.”

Add your voice! Sign up at www.elephantsneedus.org now!