U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement to destroy US ivory stockpile

Monday, September 9, 2013
Washington, D.C.

Statement from:  International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement today that it will destroy the U.S. stockpile of illegal ivory – 6 tons of it seized by U.S. authorities – is an important signal for the need to end trafficking in illegal elephant products. A recent surge in this illicit trade has resulted in the killing of 30,000 African elephants annually in recent years.

Despite the 1989 ban on commercial ivory trade in the U.S., recent seizures and busts in the country show that the United States remains a major destination for illegal ivory. Destroying the ivory stockpile sends a crucial message that ivory is not acceptable as art – nor jewelry, carvings or trinkets.

“The U.S.’s leadership two decades ago in limiting domestic trade in ivory prompted action from others around the world,” said Jeffrey Flocken, IFAW North American Regional Director.  “IFAW applauds this symbolic act and hopes that the next action of the government will be a full ivory moratorium in the U.S.”

“By crushing this ivory stockpile, the U.S. government is sending a signal. If we're going to solve this crisis we have to crush the demand, driven by organized crime syndicates who are robbing the world of elephants and stealing the natural heritage of African nations,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund. "It’s a global phenomenon. So we hope this encourages other governments to take bold, decisive steps to curb the demand for illegal elephant products.”

About IFAW

Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About WWF

WWF is one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, working in 100 countries for over half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit www.worldwildlife.org to learn more. Follow WWF news on Twitter @WWFNews.

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Experts

Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Cynthia Moss, IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Regional Director, South Asia