Crowning achievement to ban ivory in the Empire State

New York’s landmark bill will help to protect African elephants like these calves in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. ©IFAW/J. HrusaToday, IFAW really loves New York. Governor Cuomo, the New York State Senate and Assembly approved legislation to ban the sale and purchase of most elephant and mammoth ivory, as well as rhino horns.

New York is one of the first states in the country to take this bold step.

This landmark measure comes close on the heels of another important animal protection effort: the state also passed a bill to prevent public contact with tigers, lions, and other dangerous wild animals.

RELATED: A success story for big cats in New York

After China, the U.S. is one of the world’s largest commercial ivory markets, and New York City is among its biggest sales hubs. The new law has exemptions for antiques, certain musical instruments, and ivory used for educational or law enforcement purposes.

As Governor Andrew Cuomo said earlier this week, “The illegal ivory trade has no place in New York State, and we will not stand for individuals who violate the law by supporting it.”

Consider what’s coming through just one of New York’s airports: on Monday, federal authorities at JFK revealed some of the trafficked wildlife and counterfeit goods they have seized, along with the latest detection tools and techniques used to counter illegal trade.

This includes K-9 units trained to uncover prohibited produce and wildlife, and a mobile X-ray machine that scans suspect packages for contraband.

This state legislation comes at an opportune time, as federal and global efforts are also being put in place to protect elephants. The species is being slaughtered at an alarming rate to meet growing demand for ivory.

We thank the New York state government, along with our fellow coalition members like Wildlife Conservation Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Humane Society of the United States, and our supporters who made this ban possible and are carving a path for others to follow.


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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
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