California takes step toward banning elephant ivory, rhino horn trades

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On September 3, 2015 the California Senate approved legislation that would ban the ivory and rhinoceros horn across the state.

AB 96 passed 26-13, reflecting widespread support for the measure, which aims to take a step toward reducing pressure on wild elephants and rhinos that are being poached at unprecedented levels across Africa and Asia.

But some critics say the bill’s exemption for “antique ivory” will make the legislation difficult to enforce if it is signed into law by the state assembly and governor Jerry Brown.

Nonetheless, the move was welcomed by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) which is leading a campaign across the States to ban ivory.

“WCS and the 96 Elephants campaign praise the California Senate for passing AB 96,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants Campaign. “The ivory issue is not something that’s only happening half a world away – there is a major ivory market right here in the U.S., and California is among the largest consumers. Now, California is poised to play a direct role in saving elephants from the ravages of the illegal wildlife trade.”

The 96 Elephants Campaign aims to stop the trade in elephant ivory. It is named after the 96 elephants WCS estimates are killed each day for their ivory.

If AB 96 is signed into law, California would follow New York and New Jersey as states that have banned elephant ivory. In July, President Obama called for a nation-wide ban.

Article published by Rhett Butler on September 3, 2015 on Mongabay

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