President Obama just finalized regulations that go a long way toward closing down the U.S. ivory market — one of the biggest in the world — and will help end the brutal slaughter of African elephants for their tusks.
This is a huge victory for NRDC and our partners — and for hundreds of thousands of NRDC activists like you who have supported our campaign to end America’s role in the global ivory trade.
While commercial imports of African elephant ivory are already banned, the new rules close other loopholes in our country’s ivory laws by further restricting ivory exports from the U.S. and sales of ivory items between U.S. states, along with reducing the number of elephants that trophy hunters can import into the country — which had previously been unlimited.
But that’s not the only good news for elephants: Just weeks ago, Hawaii’s governor signed legislation banning that state’s ivory trade, eliminating what had been the third largest U.S. ivory market. NRDC has already helped enact similar bans in New York and California — formerly the first and second largest U.S. ivory markets.
Because the federal government has limited authority when it comes to ending wildlife trade within states, this legislation is critical to cracking down on ivory sales where federal regulations can’t.
But our hard-fought victories are likely to be challenged by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other groups that are dead set on blocking an ivory trade ban. NRDC is preparing to go to court if necessary to protect the new federal rules from pro-ivory special interests.
At the same time, we’re helping protect state ivory bans from legal challenges — like in California, where we’re fighting in court to defend the state’s ivory ban against a suit brought by a big-time ivory collector. We’re also preparing for possible legal assaults to the laws we’ve helped pass in other states.
And we’re working with our partners in China — home to the world’s largest ivory market — to help the country move towards an ivory ban.
But to fight for elephants on the state, national and international levels all at once, we need your strong support.
Together, we’ve taken major steps to help stave off disaster for these magnificent animals. But with one elephant killed every 20 minutes, the situation is so dire that we can’t afford to rest.
With your generous support we’ll capitalize on this historic victory and end the heartless slaughter of Africa’s elephants.