- by: Jessica Ramos
- recipient: California Lawmakers
Every 15 minutes, an elephant is killed for its tusks. The entire wild species could go extinct as early as 2025. The ivory market is to blame.
President Obama has a plan. But there are loopholes. Currently, California ivory dealers can still legally sell elephant ivory because of one loophole: intentional mislabeling. Elephant ivory is being passed off as wooly mammoth, cow bone, etc.
The United States and California matter.
After China, the United States is the second largest ivory consumer.
After New York, California — particularly Los Angeles and San Francisco — has the second largest ivory market in the country. California also facilities the international export of ivory.
According to a Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) press release, http://www.nrdc.org/media/2015/150107a.asp investigations revealed that there are 100 ivory vendors and the Bay Area sells 1,200 ivory items.And this isn’t exactly legal ivory.
Los Angeles’ ivory:
— Between 77 – 90 percent of the ivory seen was likely illegal under California law
— Between 47 – 60 percent could have been illegal under federal law
San Francisco’s ivory:
— Roughly 80 percent of the ivory was likely illegal under California law
— 52 percent could have been illegal under federal law
But there’s a way to close the loophole.
San Diego’s Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins has proposed Assembly Bill 96 — the bill would ban all sales of material resembling ivory animals, including: elephants, wooly mammoths, wart hogs and whales. Atkins believes we can save thousands of elephants (and endangered rhinos, for that matter) by closing this loophole and closing the ivory market in California for good.