Significant ivory trafficking occurring inside the United States; illegal poaching claims 8 percent of African elephant population annually Washington—In a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is urging strong administrative action to end elephant and rhinoceros poaching and illegal ivory trafficking inside the United States.
Feinstein wrote: “While estimates of the extent of the world’s illegal ivory trade that occurs in the U.S. vary greatly, by all accounts a very significant amount of trafficking occurs within our borders. I have serious concerns that our current policies have not effectively reduced ivory trafficking within the U.S. nor adequately protected elephant and rhinoceros populations globally.”
“Elephant and rhinoceros poaching has increased dramatically in recent years, and is fueled in part by the demand for ivory in the United States. It is estimated by the African Wildlife Foundation that approximately 8% of the 470,000 remaining African elephants are poached illegally each year. Since 2010, this level of poaching is above the natural reproductive rates of elephants,” Feinstein added.
Full text of the letter follows:
December 9, 2013
The Honorable Sally Jewell
Secretary of the Interior
U. S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240
Dear Secretary Jewell,
I am writing to request that you take the strongest possible administrative action to end elephant and rhinoceros poaching and the illegal trade in ivory. This should include developing a robust and systematic enforcement plan in coordination with your sister agencies to ensure our policies regulating the ivory trade are effectively implemented. More....