It’s Time to Terminate the Illegal Ivory Market

The slaughter of 96 elephants by poachers every day in Africa has generated a growing constituency for changes in federal law that would close loopholes enabling illegal ivory to be sold in the United States. Photo by Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS.

By John F. Calvelli

Last June, more than a ton of ivory was crushed in New York City’s Times Square. With the crush, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), and other conservation groups sought to call attention to the slaughter of 96 elephants by poachers every day in Africa and build upon a growing constituency for changes in federal law that would close loopholes enabling illegal ivory to be sold in the United States.

Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t be there for the crush, but he had a pointed and powerful message to share. To those who “think it’s okay to kill 96 of these beauties a day,” tweeted Schwarzenegger in reference to the ongoing elephant slaughter. “I’d like to chat.” The message was retweeted close to 1,000 times and was liked by more than 1.2K followers.

Since then, Arnold has become a supporter of WCS’s 96 Elephants campaign. The potential demise of the world’s largest land animal would be reason enough to care but it’s not the only one. Revenues acquired through the slaughter and trafficking of wildlife by criminal syndicates have helped to finance trade in illegal drugs and arms, fueled political instability, and – in some cases – abetted terror activities by African rebel groups like the Lord’s Resistance Army.

The slaughter of 96 elephants by poachers every day in Africa has generated a growing constituency for changes in federal law that would close loopholes enabling illegal ivory to be sold in the United States. Photo by Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS.

96 Elephants has a robust partner network of 225 organizations, including more than 125 members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, working together to raise awareness of this crisis in the media and the public policy —> Read More

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