Thursday, November 5, 2015

Stopping the trade of ivory and other endangered species

By passing the 1401 measure on November 3rd 2014, Washington state (WA), joins New York, New Jersey and California which previously passed similar measures prohibiting the trade of ivory from elephant and rhinos. The WA  measure goes beyond ivory by also banning the trade of parts sourced from other endangered animals. Wild cats such as lions, leopards and cheetahs. Other endangered land animals covered by the measure are the scaly ant eaters known as pangolins. Some aquatic species are also included in this measure. Among these are marine turtles (hunted for their shells, e.g., carey a material similar to ivory), as well sharks and rays. The passing of the measure was celebrated by environmentalist including The Wildlife Federation who stated in a tweet:

Thanks to friends of in WA voting , the fight against extinction has scored a big win:

The measure affects the sales, exchange (trade or barter), and commercialization of ivory less than 100 years old. Some exceptions were made for items such as musical instruments that may contain low amounts of ivory. These restrictions caused the opposition of antique dealers and other animal product dealers. They argue that the measure is unfair, in part because their items were acquired before the measure. In addition, the opposing viewers argue that the funds used for lobbying and advertise the measure could be used at the source of the problem, to defeat poachers.

The passing of the measure involved large contributions by microsoft co-founder Mr. Paul Allen ($2M), and many other donors. Mr. Allen has long advocated for wildlife in Africa. Yet, he along with advocates for the measure consider that changing trading laws in the USA, state by state would help to decrease poaching elsewhere, by decreasing the demand for the ivory or desired product. More about the campaign that lead to the passing of the banning on ivory and parts from other endangered animals (1401 measure) can be seen at the campaign site 

“Every day, endangered species like elephants and rhinos are slaughtered to fuel a lucrative trade in unnecessary products made of ivory or horn. We must attack the economic incentives associated with trafficking wildlife products and give law enforcement the tools needed to shut down the networks that contribute to this criminal activity. We all have a responsibility to protect endangered animals, and Washington State can serve as a model to lead the way in disrupting the market for these products. If we turn away from our responsibility to protect our planet, these species will become extinct.” Philantropist Paul G. Allen (endorsement for the campaign, save

 He also tweeted:
  1. Great victory passing ! A strong message to the country--we can save endangered animals a world away