• ITVI.USA
    16,240.330
    -110.510
    -0.7%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.762
    0.031
    1.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.780
    0.120
    0.6%
  • OTVI.USA
    16,233.310
    -109.890
    -0.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.520
    0.380
    12.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.960
    -0.660
    -18.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.610
    0.250
    18.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.340
    -0.130
    -3.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.100
    -0.250
    -10.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.860
    -0.220
    -5.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    -2.000
    -1.6%
  • ITVI.USA
    16,240.330
    -110.510
    -0.7%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.762
    0.031
    1.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.780
    0.120
    0.6%
  • OTVI.USA
    16,233.310
    -109.890
    -0.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.520
    0.380
    12.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.960
    -0.660
    -18.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.610
    0.250
    18.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.340
    -0.130
    -3.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.100
    -0.250
    -10.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.860
    -0.220
    -5.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    -2.000
    -1.6%
American Shipper

U.S. to ban trade of ivory across state lines

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will prohibit interstate commerce in elephant ivory, while the airline industry says it will also endeavor to reduce illegal wildlife trafficking.

   The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will publish on June 6 a final rule instituting a near-total ban on domestic commercial trade of African elephant ivory that eliminates a loophole wildlife traffickers use to evade enforcement once ivory is smuggled into the country. 
   The Endangered Species Act (ESA) Special Rule for the African Elephant, which was developed in response to President Obama’s 2013 executive order on combating wildlife trafficking, substantially limits the intra-state transport and sale of African elephant ivory.
   The United States has had a moratorium on ivory imports since 1989, but authorities say a large amount of elephant ivory continues to be illegally imported. Ivory sold in the United States is typically part of finished goods such as carvings, knife handles, billiard cues and furniture, and is sold in retail shops as well as through online sellers.
   Until now, domestic trade in antiques and other legally acquired ivory imported prior to 1989 has been allowed, but the Fish and Wildlife Service said it moved to a stricter standard because it is very difficult for criminal investigators to differentiate legally acquired ivory from ivory derived from elephant poaching.
   In one case, law enforcement officials seized more than $2 million-worth of illegal elephant ivory from two New York city retail stores in 2012.
   Elephant populations are being depleted in Africa because of illegal poaching, which is reducing biodiversity and harming the tourist economy in many nations. During a recent three-year period, an estimated 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory, an average of approximately one every 15 minutes, and poaching continues at an alarming rate, according to the FWS. The carcasses of illegally killed elephants now litter some of Africa’s premiere parks. 
   The final rule prohibits most commerce in ivory but makes specific, limited exceptions for certain pre-existing manufactured items — such as musical instruments, furniture pieces and firearms — that contain less than 200 grams of ivory and meet other specific criteria. Antiques, as defined under the ESA, are also exempt from the act’s prohibitions. This rule is limited to African elephant ivory and does not further regulate ivory derived from other species, such as walrus, whale and mammoth.
   “Since we proposed this rule in 2015, we received more than 1.3 million comments from the public, demonstrating that Americans care deeply about elephants and overwhelmingly support African elephant conservation,” FWS Director Dan Ashe said in a statement. “Our actions close a major avenue to wildlife traffickers by removing the cover that legal ivory trade provides to the illegal trade. We still have much to do to save this species, but today is a good day for the African elephant.”
   The agency said it will provide further implementation guidance before the rule goes into effect July 6.
   “We listened carefully to the legitimate concerns raised by various stakeholder groups and, as a result, are allowing commonsense, narrow exceptions for musicians, musical instrument makers and dealers, gun owners and others to trade items that have minimal amounts of ivory and satisfy other conditions,” said Ashe. “These items are not drivers of elephant poaching and do not provide cover for traffickers.”
   The rulemaking comes days before the State Department is scheduled to hold meetings with Chinese officials for the 2016 U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, where wildlife trafficking is expected to be a key discussion topic. China committed last year to ban domestic trade in ivory.
   Environmentalists say they are concerned that the National Rifle Association, pro-hunter groups and collectors will challenge the Obama administration’s ivory ban in court.
   Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association unanimously endorsed a resolution at its annual general meeting in Dublin, Ireland, denouncing the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products, and pledged to partner with government authorities and conservation groups to fight against traffickers of endangered animals.
   The resolution urges governments to commit additional resources to address illegal trafficking and calls on airlines to increase customer and employee awareness of  the illegal wildlife trade. Airlines said they would consider adopting policies and procedures to discourage trafficking through awareness programs, information sharing and incident reporting. 
   The resolution follows a memorandum of understanding signed last year between IATA and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Two workshops to raise awareness for airline and airport staff were held at Nairobi and Bangkok airports. In addition, IATA joined the U.S. Agency for International Development’s partnership for reducing unlawful transport of endangered species. New guidance material for airlines has been published and an IATA environmental committee task force on wildlife has been set up to monitor progress and provide advice on the next steps.

We are glad you’re enjoying the content

Sign up for a free FreightWaves account today for unlimited access to all of our latest content

By signing in for the first time, I give consent for FreightWaves to send me event updates and news. I can unsubscribe from these emails at any time. For more information please see our Privacy Policy.