About the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service External Affairs

The Endangered Species Act Special Rule for the African Elephant

What others are saying about the final rule…

African Wildlife Foundation -- Dr. Patrick Bergin, CEO and member of the U.S. Federal Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking

"The African Wildlife Foundation fully supports the revisions made to the 4(d) rule, which will make it more difficult to launder illicit ivory in the United States and provide greater protections to Africa’s elephants. Strong laws around wildlife crime and strong enforcement of those laws are absolutely critical in deterring traffickers and poachers, and each country has an obligation to review and strengthen its laws, close loopholes and otherwise simplify the role of law enforcement in combating the illegal wildlife trade. We should do everything in our power to facilitate, rather than complicate, enforcement efforts in the United States and around the world."


Association of Art Museum Directors -- Christine Anagnos, Executive Director

"The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) supports the efforts of the international community to address these threats in a responsible and measured way. Poaching, trafficking and other forms of wildlife destruction need to be addressed, and the President’s call to action -- in particular with respect to the challenges facing African elephants -- is to be applauded. Art museums have a place in these efforts, particularly through their role as educators and communicators. The museum community looks forward to working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and relevant federal and state officials to shape a national approach to support efforts to curtail the trade in illegally acquired wildlife, while continuing to share historic works of art with the public."


Humane Society of the United States -- Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO

"Ivory looks best on its original owners. Killing elephants and hacking off their tusks enriches terrorists, robs Africa of one of its great revenue-generators, and denies future generations the opportunity to see these iconic creatures for future generations. This is the right policy on so many levels."

International Fund for Animal Welfare -- Jeff Flocken, Regional Director, North America

"We don’t often get to change American laws to help protect imperiled animals halfway across the globe, but today was one of those days. These new rules are a signal to Africa and the rest of the world that Americans accept and welcome our shared responsibility for protecting wildlife, wherever it may roam."


League of American Orchestras -- Jesse Rosen, President and CEO

"We are pleased that the final rule confirms that domestic trade and international travel with existing musical instruments containing small amounts of African elephant ivory are not contributing to the poaching and trafficking crisis. We look forward to ongoing engagement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as further guidance is crafted to inform orchestra musicians about the de minimis sales exemption and expanded travel permit eligibility. The Administration's ultimate approach to the African elephant ivory rule demonstrates that it is possible to address urgent conservation needs while also supporting global cultural activity."


C. F. Martin & Co -- Chris Martin IV, Chairman and CEO

"I greatly appreciate the U.S. Fish and Wildlife considering the positive cultural impact music has around the world and offering musicians the opportunity to travel with their instruments to and from the United States if they comply with the new regulations."


Natural Resources Defense Council – Andrew Wetzler, Deputy Chief Program Officer

"It is essential that the United States protect the lives of elephants by helping eliminate our country’s role in the deadly ivory trade. Today's announcement builds on the administration's previous actions to combat wildlife trafficking, as well as the bans passed in the top U.S. ivory markets: New York, California, and Hawaii. Together we are slowly but surely ending our country’s significant contribution to the elephant poaching crisis."


TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network -- Crawford Allan, Senior Director

"TRAFFIC believes that by introducing these ivory trade control measures the U.S. government is demonstrating its firm leadership, commitment and resolve to be at the forefront of international efforts to address wildlife crime and help protect elephants."


U.S. Department of Justice – John C. Cruden, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division

"The Department of Justice applauds the work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in issuing strong new regulations to combat the poaching of African elephants, a highly endangered species. The final rule will make it much more difficult to launder illegal elephant ivory through U.S. markets and it will assist our law enforcement efforts to confront this destructive and destabilizing trade."


U.S. Department of State -- Catherine Novelli, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment

"Today, the United States took the final step in enacting a near total ban on ivory, delivering on a commitment made in September 2015 by President Obama and Chinese President Xi to take significant and timely steps to halt the domestic commercial trade in ivory. We need all countries to join us in implementing similar bans on domestic commercial trade in African elephant ivory."


WildAid, Peter Knights, Executive Director

"Illegal markets drive the poaching of 33,000 elephants a year. The United States is taking a lead on closing loopholes that enable those markets. China and Hong Kong are pledged to ban sales as well and we hope that can happen quickly. Ivory prices in Asia are falling rapidly and we would expect to see a reduction in poaching as a result. If the next largest market Japan can also act, we may be able to end this crisis for the elephants."


Wildlife Conservation Society -- John Calvelli, Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director of the WCS 96 Elephants campaign

"The U.S. has shown the world today that it will not stand idly by and watch Africa’s elephants vanish at the hands of poachers. This powerful and groundbreaking rule is a major step forward to eliminate the ivory trade worldwide."


World Wildlife Fund -- Ginette Hemley, Senior Vice President

"The Obama Administration continues to set the bar in the global fight against wildlife crime. The commonsense measures announced today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will end most sales of elephant ivory and help ensure that the United States no longer plays a role in the illegal trade that drives poaching of as many as 30,000 elephants a year. We hope that the Fish and Wildlife’s efforts build momentum and international action in other major ivory markets, including China, Thailand and Hong Kong."