By Cristián Samper
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has taken the unprecedented step of pulverizing nearly six tons of elephant ivory stored at the National Wildlife Property Repository in Colorado.
With this bold action, the United States government joins a small group of nations - including the Philippines, Kenya, and Gabon - that have destroyed their ivory stockpiles to confront the multimillion dollar illegal ivory trade.
This trade, increasingly the domain of large global criminal syndicates and operating on the ground through organized rebel groups, has been responsible for the loss of some three-quarters of all African forest elephants in the past decade.
Across central Africa, elephant range states are calling for a moratorium on the sale and purchase of ivory. As a global leader in the fight to confront this crisis, the United States must do the same.
African elephants alone are being lost at an unprecedented rate and the demand for ivory shows no decline. Approximately 35,000 elephants were killed by poachers last year - some 96 elephants each day.
On September 26, WCS joined with 15 other conservation NGOs, the leaders of seven African nations, and the Clinton Global Initiative in announcing an $80 million, three-year commitment to halt the killing of elephants and to end the trafficking and trade in ivory. WCS simultaneously launched its 96 Elephants campaign to raise awareness on this critical issue.
In the fight to end the elephant poaching crisis, we know that we must take a three-pronged approach: stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand. More....