New article examines U.S. contribution to elephant poaching crisis in Africa

New article examines U.S. contribution to elephant poaching crisis in Africa
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Washington, D.C

The earth’s largest land mammal is in crisis – on average, one elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory. A new article published in the American Bar Association’s Natural Resources & Environment journal explores the international crisis through the lens of the thriving illegal ivory market in the United States – a significant contributor to the rapid decline of elephant populations in Africa.

The article, Treasured to Death: Elephants, Ivory, and the Resurgence of a Crisis examines the regulatory loopholes in America’s domestic ivory market, and how these gaps serve to mask recently-poached contraband.  The piece also describes the Obama Administration’s efforts to curtail the domestic trade by proposing stronger policies on ivory commerce.

“The United States is the second largest ivory market behind China,” noted co-author and IFAW campaigns officer, Peter LaFontaine.  “We have a responsibility to lead the way in implementing conservation measures at home, aimed at protecting elephants in the wild.”

In writing the article, the authors utilized recently analyzed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data on seizures of illegal ivory at national borders, legal imports and exports of ivory objects, and other data showcasing America’s complicity in elephant poaching.

LaFontaine added:  “The relationship between the seemingly insatiable demand for ivory products in Asia and the rampant poaching of elephants for their tusks is well documented.  We need to raise awareness on how American ivory consumers are promoting the mass poaching of elephants, and work together to reverse the elephants’ march towards extinction.”

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About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare) Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals 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.

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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