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A Talk on the Wild Side.

Push Against Trafficking of Elephant Ivory Grows

Elephants cross a river in Zambia. Photo by Alex Berger/Fickr Creative Commons

World Wildlife Day last Tuesday gave people everywhere an opportunity to show that they were serious about wildlife crime by adding their voice to a global social media campaign and tweeting, Instagramming or otherwise sharing a photograph of them holding a World Wildlife Day message with the hashtag #seriousaboutwildlifecrime. Many people (including Service employees) did just that. We have also been hearing some great news in the fight against the trafficking of elephant ivory.

On World Wildlife Day, Kenya burned 15 tons of ivory and said it would destroy the government’s ivory stockpile by the end of this year. “Poachers and their enablers will not have the last word,” Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said at the event, according to the Associated Press.

Kenya is just the latest country to destroy its ivory since our Ivory Crush in 2013. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its Director, Dan Ashe, thank Kenya for its strong message to the world and its dedication to elephant conservation.

More good news came out of China, a key driver of the illegal ivory trade. The country has instituted a one-year ban on the import of ivory carvings. We are encouraged by China’s willingness to look for solutions to the global crisis of wildlife crime, and we are working together to identify other ways to combat wildlife trafficking.

On World Wildlife Day, we held a live webcast from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Forensics Laboratory – the first and only full-service wildlife forensics lab in the world – to show how cutting-edge science is helping us fight wildlife crime. A few days earlier, Canada offered an example of how science is winning the battle against traffickers. An auction house and its director pleaded guilty to charges after radiocarbon dating of elephant ivory tusks revealed the tusks weren’t the antiques the company claimed.

On World Wildlife Day, and every day, we are working with our partners to ensure that elephants, rhinos and other imperiled wildlife still have a place in the world. How can you help? Join us in the fight by learning about the dangerous effects of wildlife crime on both wildlife and people. While a majority of illegal wildlife trade happens  on a commercial scale, sometimes individuals participate in the trade by unknowingly buying or traveling with illegal items. Be an educated consumer - ask questions before making a purchase and understand the impacts that your purchasing decisions have on animal and plant life around the world.

Does USFWS still operate under the misconception that they can curb trafficking by discerning legally taken and illegal ivory? Until there are no legal imports of ivory and no legal take of an animal, unless clearly and absolutely identified as an antique then the madness and the copability on the part of USFWS in species extinction is a fact.
# Posted By Julie Martenson | 3/12/15 11:48 AM
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