Saturday, June 04, 2016

Elephants Win Huge Concession from US

At a point in time when it may be too late for the survival of the African elephant in the wild, the United States finally announced it would ban all commercial trade in elephant ivory.  President Barrack Obama made the announcement at the White House on Thursday.  Previously, trade in ivory was permitted if it was old enough or if it came from a documented legal source such an elephant that died of natural causes. But the scourge of poaching is decimating wild elephant herds. {05.12.13} These loopholes allowed illegal traders cover for their activities. The US is the second largest market for ivory products behind China.  Experts expect that the ban will have an effect on the worldwide ivory trade.  According to the UK Guardian, prices for elephant ivory are already dropping in Asia.  US officials will meet with Chinese officials in China this week to discuss more ways of cutting off the illegal trade that threatens to exterminate the Earth's largest land mammal.

Once again, in a concession to trophy hunters who pay fees often used by cash poor African nations for conservation efforts, there is an exemption for importation of two carcasses per year per hunter.  Before the new rules that take effect in July there was no limitation on elephant trophies.  Any item that contains less than 200 grams of ivory such as musical instruments or other antiques may still be traded.  The US Fish & Wildlife Service said it received 1.3 million comments on the proposed rule changes since they were proposed in 2015.  The comments were predominately in favor of conservation.