Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

California Becomes Third U.S. State to Ban Ivory Trade

California Becomes Third U.S. State to Ban Ivory Trade

With a quick stroke of his pen, California's Gov. Brown signed into law yesterday AB 96, thus eliminating the third largest ivory market in the country and joining New York and New Jersey in banning intrastate ivory trade. The bill passed the State Senate by a vote of 26-14 and the State Assembly by a vote of 62-14 earlier this month.

According to an NRDC-commissioned undercover investigation of California's ivory markets, up to 90 percent of the ivory for sale in Los Angeles and approximately 80 percent of the ivory for sale in San Francisco is likely illegal under California law, meaning that it was harvested relatively recently and thus could be linked to the elephant poaching crisis now gripping Africa. The report also found that the proportion of likely illegal ivory in California has roughly doubled—from approximately 25 percent in 2006 to about 50 percent in 2014.

Fortunately, AB96—which is named for the number of elephants killed every day in Africa—will put an end to this. The bill, which was introduced by California State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and California State Sen. Ricardo Lara, will crack down on California's ivory market and, in turn, the demand for ivory that is fueling poaching. It will also serve as a role model for China—the world's top ivory-consuming country—which recently announced plans to phase out its domestic ivory market to combat elephant poaching.

Current California law allows the purchase and sale of ivory imported prior to 1977, which has created a parallel illegal market and made the law nearly impossible to enforce. AB 96 fixes this by eliminating the pre-1977 loophole in California's ivory law and banning the sale, offer for sale, possession with intent to sell and importation with intent to sell of elephant, mammoth, narwhal, whale, walrus and hippo ivory, along with rhinoceros horn. It also increases penalties for traffickers to up to roughly $50,000 and/or one year in prison. The bill contains limited exceptions for antique musical instruments that have proper documentation showing they're old and antique objects comprised of less than 5 percent ivory, as the vast majority of the illegal ivory trade involves objects made entirely or almost entirely of ivory. Scientific and educational institutions will also continue to be able to buy and sell ivory with certain restrictions.

AB 96 will become effective July 1, 2016. After that, hopefully we'll be able to walk around places like San Francisco's Wharf and Chinatown without the gruesome sight of carved ivory tusks in the store windows. In the meantime, we'll be assessing opportunities for similar legislation in other states. On the federal level, we'll also be encouraging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to strengthen its proposed rule on the interstate ivory trade and ensuring that it doesn't bend to the wishes of the National Rifle Association and weaken these planned regulations.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

10 Cutest Wildlife Photos in Celebration of World Habitat Day

Greenpeace: The Truth Behind the World’s Largest Tuna Company

Endangered Fur Seals Dying at Alarming Rate Along California Coast

Supermoon Sparked Rhino Killing Spree as Poaching Numbers Skyrocket

Ningaloo Reef near Exmouth on April 2, 2012 in Western Australia. James D. Morgan / Getty Images News

By Dana M Bergstrom, Euan Ritchie, Lesley Hughes and Michael Depledge

In 1992, 1,700 scientists warned that human beings and the natural world were "on a collision course." Seventeen years later, scientists described planetary boundaries within which humans and other life could have a "safe space to operate." These are environmental thresholds, such as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and changes in land use.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less

Trending

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a video speech at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 22, 2021. Xinhua / Zhang Cheng via Getty Images

By Anke Rasper

"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less
New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

Read More Show Less
A bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less