US bans commercial ivory trade

February 11, 2014
Three tonnes of illegal ivory are displayed on February 6, 2014 in front of the Eiffel tower in Paris

The United States banned the commercial trade of elephant ivory on Tuesday 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 , including antiques, and all exports,—except for bona fide antiques and certain other items.

The outlawed is mostly fuelled by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used in traditional medicine and to make ornaments.

Poaching has risen sharply in Africa in recent years. Besides targeting rhinos, gangs have massacred whole herds of elephants for their tusks.

"This ban is the best way to help ensure that US markets do not contribute to the further decline of African elephants in the wild," the White House said in a statement.

The ban clarifies the definition of 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," according to the White House.

"The onus will now fall on the importer, exporter, or seller to demonstrate that an item meets these criteria."

During a trip to Tanzania last year, President Barack Obama signed an executive order for a $10 million program to cut wildlife trafficking in Africa.

"The United States will continue to lead global efforts to protect the world's iconic animals and preserve our planet's natural beauty for future generations," the White House said.

Explore further: Gabon says half its elephants killed since 2004

Related Stories

Gabon says half its elephants killed since 2004

February 6, 2013

More than half of Gabon's elephant population has been killed by poachers since 2004 despite ramped up security measures to try to stop the slaughter, wildlife officials said Wednesday.

Kenyan officials seize 1.5 tonnes of hidden ivory

July 3, 2013

Officials in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa seized almost one and a half tonnes of ivory hacked out of poached elephants, they said Wednesday, the latest in a series of seizures by Kenyan authorities.

Kenya seizes ivory as elephant slaughter surges

October 9, 2013

Kenyan customs officers have seized almost four tonnes of elephant ivory in two separate shipments, officials said Wednesday, amid a surge in poaching of the threatened animals.

Recommended for you

Genomes uncover life's early history

August 24, 2015

A University of Manchester scientist is part of a team which has carried out one of the biggest ever analyses of genomes on life of all forms.

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

August 25, 2015

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn't seen in over three decades. The University of Washington professor had seen what he considers ...

Why a mutant rice called Big Grain1 yields such big grains

August 24, 2015

(Phys.org)—Rice is one of the most important staple crops grown by humans—very possibly the most important in history. With 4.3 billion inhabitants, Asia is home to 60 percent of the world's population, so it's unsurprising ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.