The United States has banned the domestic trade of elephant ivory as part of a new drive to help African countries stem the rising threat to wildlife from poachers.
The White House administrative action prohibits all commercial imports of African elephant ivory, including antiques, and all commercial exports, — except for bona fide antiques and certain other items.
This is because poaching has risen sharply in Africa in recent years where, besides targeting rhinos, gangs have slaughtered whole herds of elephants for their tusks.
A statement released by the White House on Tuesday says the ban is “the best way to help ensure that US markets do not contribute to the further decline of African elephants in the wild.”
It ordered federal departments and agencies to immediately take actions to, among other things, clarify what constitutes an antique.
“To qualify as an antique, an item must be more than 100 years old and meet other requirements under the Endangered Species Act.”
The crackdown on ivory is a key aspect of a new national strategy for combating wildlife trafficking.