The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) conducted an investigation of the U.S. ivory auctions in order to better understand the market forces driving the elephant poaching crisis. We also examine the implications of new federal regulations proposed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in early 2014, which would (among other things) tightly restrict sales of non-antique ivory, and put the burden of proof on the seller to show the required documentation — a bar that man in this sector do not currently reach. Auction houses and antiques dealers have resisted these proposed rules, claiming their industry is not part of the illegal trade and would be unduly burdened. We already know that the broader U.S. market helps drive illegal poaching, but the most recent studies of the U.S. ivory market have not covered the auction sector. This project seeks to help fill that information gap.
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