The war against poaching doesn’t have to suffer the same failures as the war on drugs. But on its current course, American foreign policy risks failure at a time of unprecedented poaching across Africa.
In a Monday oped for the Los Angeles Times, WildAid CEO and co-founder Peter Knights argues that the administration’s implementation plan for its "National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking" may compromise much-needed efforts to measurably reduce global demand for rhino horn, elephant ivory and other wildlife products by failing to marshall adequate resources.
Two weeks into 2015, it's already proving to be a promising year for combatting the illegal ivory trade on the West Coast. Just days after California lawmakers introduced a bill to close illegal ivory loopholes in the state, Washington state has now followed suit with bipartisan legislation unveiled Wednesday (January 14).
The new bill, co-sponsored by State Reps. Eric Pettigrew (D), Vincent Buys (R) and Joe Fitzgibbon (D), prohibits the sale, purchase and trafficking of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn. Exemptions include antiques verified to be at least 100 years old and musical instruments manufactured before 1976.
The following is WildAid's official statement on AB 96, a bill that would strengthen California's ban on ivory that was introduced on January 8, 2015:
The bill introduced today by California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins would close loopholes that have made it difficult, if not nearly impossible, to enforce California's 40-year-old ban on ivory.
For decades, criminals have used the legal trade of ivory imported prior to 1977 in order to launder illegal ivory from Africa, where 33,000 elephants are killed for their tusks every year. With the passage of this bill, California would join New York and New Jersey in closing this loophole and adopting stiffer criminal and civil penalties on the sale of ivory.
WildAid supports AB 96 and encourages California's legislature to join us in our fight to save Africa's remaining elephants before it's too late.
Chinese film icon and WildAid Ambassador Li Bingbing took the Ivory Free pledge and released a new PSA and print campaign at a Beijing press conference on December 5. The new PSA will be broadcast on television and on more than 1,300 movie screens through a partnership with Wanda Cinemas. The print ads are displayed now at airports in Beijing and Shanghai.
WildAid is calling on the public to do its part to end the ivory poaching crisis by taking the Ivory Free pledge at ivoryfree.org. The new campaign asks consumers to pledge to never buy, own or accept ivory as gifts, and to support stronger government bans and actions to tackle the illegal ivory trade.
When a person buys an item made of ivory in a market in China, it is quite possible that they are actually funding the next major terrorist attack somewhere in the world; based on strong evidence linking the illegal ivory trade to some of the most notorious terrorist groups in Africa.
Hong Kong lawmaker Dr. Hon Elizabeth Quat JP has come to Kenya to help build bridges between China and Africa as part of her campaign to stop the buying of ivory and end the killing of elephants. The trip was organized in partnership with WildAid, Save the Elephants, the African Wildlife Foundation, the Northern Rangelands Trust and Stop Ivory. While ivory stocks are still sold legally in Hong Kong, the government has taken steps to combat the illegal trade, pledging to destroy its 29.6 tonnes of confiscated illegal ivory by the middle of next year. Dr. Quat wants her government to do more.