Last Friday, the New York Legislature officially banned the sale and purchase of elephant ivory and rhino horns in the state. On top of cracking down on the ivory and horn trade in New York, this new legislation enhances federal efforts to tighten a ban on the practice at the national level as endorsed by President Obama. The legislation still needs to be finalized with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature, but once put into effect, will regulate and hopefully end wildlife trafficking in area.
Black market trade on elephant tusks and rhino horns has directly impacted the populations of these animals worldwide. According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study, an estimated 35,000 African elephants were slaughtered last year for their ivory tusks. Meanwhile, the worldwide population of rhinos living in the wild has plummeted to 29,000 according to Save the Rhino International’s numbers.
“The brutal and ongoing practice of slaughtering African elephants for their tusks may seem distant,” Elly Pepper, Wildlife Advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council said in an interview with Ecorazzi. “But just recently we saw an ugly and vivid example of this practice as one of the world’s most recognized elephants was shot down in Kenya.”
“By making it harder for traffickers to sneak illegal ivory onto the market,” Pepper continued. “The state is doing its part to ensure that the world’s remaining elephants are not massacred for trinkets and trophies.”