In response to new domestic ivory trade regulations finalized today by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Ginette Hemley, senior vice president of wildlife conservation:
“The United States is setting the bar in the global effort to stop wildlife crime.
“Strong ivory laws here in the US help protect elephants globally. By implementing a near complete ban on commercial ivory trade, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just made it much harder for criminals to use the US to launder illegal ivory.
“Elephants are among the hardest-hit victims of a global poaching epidemic that is emptying the world’s forests, savannas, rivers, and oceans of precious wildlife. As many as 30,000 elephants are killed each year across Africa to feed a lucrative, global black market for ivory. This trade threatens the survival of entire elephant populations, endangers the lives and livelihoods of local communities, and finances criminal syndicates that undermine national and regional security.
“The Obama administration has made it clear that the US will not tolerate this senseless slaughter. We urge the administration to continue working with China, Thailand, and other consumer countries to close ivory markets and make desire for elephant ivory a thing of the past.”