The fight against elephant ivory poaching is on and protecting elephants is still a major concern for the African continent.
The United States, which is the world’s second-largest consumer of illegally poached ivory, has now come out to announce a near-total ban on the domestic commercial trade of African elephant ivory.
The new ban is expected to take effect on July 6.
The people of the United States will be speaking loudly, and saying we value living elephants in the wild more than we value the creation and the trade of trinkets made from ivory.
New rule banning commercial trade of ivory an important step towards ending poaching, saving iconic species for future gens.SJ— Sally Jewell (@SecretaryJewell) June 2, 2016
According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the ban will substantially limit imports, exports and sales of ivory items across state lines.
“The people of the United States will be speaking loudly,” said Daniel M. Ashe, director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, “and saying we value living elephants in the wild more than we value the creation and the trade of trinkets made from ivory.”
There are however limited exceptions for certain pre-existing manufactured items and antiques at least a century old that are exempted from the Act’s prohibitions.
Recent estimates from the U.S. Department of State, indicates that wildlife trafficking generates approximately $10 billion per year in illegal profits for criminal syndicates.
Conservation groups have welcomed the move, which aims to reduce the slaughter of more than 35,000 of Africa’s 450,000 elephants estimated to be killed each year mainly for ivory.
A delegation from the United States is expected to go to Beijing next week for a round of strategic and economic talks with Chinese officials, who have also agreed to further restrictions on the ivory trade.