Press Release

Global Experts Call for the Close of All Domestic Ivory Markets

Kimiko Martinez, 310-434-2344 or [email protected]

HONOLULU — After a series of delays and diplomatic maneuvering, the World Conservation Congress today adopted a motion that calls on all countries to close their legal domestic markets for elephant ivory.

Motion 007, “Closure of domestic markets for elephant ivory,” urges the governments of countries with domestic ivory markets to take all necessary legislative and regulatory efforts to close them. It also calls on IUCN members to “send an unambiguous message (at CITES) that elephants are protected globally and that in the face of extensive poaching, buying elephant ivory is harmful and unacceptable.

Legal ivory markets – like the major ones in countries like China, the U.S. and Japan – hide thriving illegal markets that perpetuate elephant poaching. This is due largely to the fact that it’s very difficult to determine ivory age, as well as whether an ivory item is from elephants or some other species like the extinct mammoth.

More than 144,000 savanna elephants were killed for their tusks between 2007 and 2014. And scientists estimate that African forest elephants could go extinct within a decade.

Following is a statement from Andrew Wetzler, deputy chief program officer at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“Elephants are running out of time. The magnitude of the slaughter of these majestic animals for their tusks is not only unprecedented, it’s inextricably leading African elephants toward extinction. We need to close all ivory markets now to ensure their survival.

“Today’s vote by IUCN members is the first time that a major international body has called on every country in the world to close its legal markets for elephant ivory. It’s truly a landmark moment, and a victory for elephants that will hopefully be repeated later this month at the next meeting of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Johannesburg.”

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