Bill Honoring Slain Elephant Could Help Fight Ivory Trafficking

Earlier this summer the heartbreaking story of Satao, one of Kenya’s most well-known and beloved elephants, made headlines after he was killed by poachers in Tsavo East National Park. Now legislation introduced in his honor could impose trade sanctions on countries that continue to facilitate the bloody ivory trade.

Among ongoing efforts to fight the poaching crisis, last week Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee Peter DeFazio introduced the Targeted Use of Sanctions for Killing Elephants in their Range (TUSKER) Act, in honor of Satao who was known as a tusker for his enormous tusks in an effort to impose consequences on countries that aren’t upholding their commitments to shut down the trade and protect elephants.

Sadly, Sateo’s tragic death was one among tens of thousands of elephants who continue to die because of the world’s seemingly insatiable demand for ivory. A recent study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences found that the demand is responsible for the deaths of 100,000 African elephants in just the past three years alone.

Not only has this devastating loss raised concerns that we could see these magnificent animals disappear from the landscape within our lifetime, but also about how the ivory trade is continuing to threaten global security and support criminal activity.

DeFazio stated:

As many as 40,000 elephants were slaughtered in 2013 alone for their tusks and over 1,000 park rangers have been killed trying to protect endangered wildlife. The illegal wildlife trade funds the operations of gun, drug and human trafficking crime syndicates. It also funds extremely dangerous terrorist groups that threaten regional stability in Africa and national security in the United States. We need to choke off the access to the market. My legislation sends a strong message– if countries permit this illegal trafficking, there will be economic consequences.

According to a statement, numbers from the White House National Security Council and information from the UN Security Council shows elephant ivory contributes between $7 billion and $10 billion a year to the global illegal trade and funds organized criminal and terrorist organizations, including Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, the Janjaweed in Darfur and the Al-Qaeda linked terrorist group Al-Shabaab.

Conservation and wildlife advocacy organizations are applauding the bill’s introduction and hope further efforts from the U.S., which is the world’s second largest market for ivory behind China, will help stem the the flow of ivory and encourage tougher poaching laws and trade regulations in countries that are involved in the trade. The bill will now be heard by the House Natural Resource Committee, which will hopefully move it forward.

“The international illicit ivory trade is being driven by dangerous organized crime syndicates in Africa and Asia and must be stopped. Elephants continue to be slaughtered at record levels; heroic park rangers are literally laying their lives on the line to keep them safe; and national security in the most vulnerable parts of Africa is made more fragile. Congressman DeFazio deserves the full support of all Members of Congress for tackling this significant issue head-on,” said Adam Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA.

Meanwhile, elephant and rhino advocates from around the world are getting ready to speak out on October 4 for the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos in an effort to raise global awareness about the poaching crisis, to call for a global ban on the trade of wildlife parts and to demand governments take serious action to stop wildlife crime.

Check out the the March for Elephants and Rhinos to find out more about how to get involved.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

107 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Jennifer H.
Jennifer H4 years ago

The US needs to get their butts out of ivory. It is horrific that these beautiful creatures endure hell just to stroke some creeps ego. It is time for a no holds barred assault on poachers with extreme consequences.

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Peter Watson
Peter Watson4 years ago

I will not stop until Ivory Trade has stopped. End of Story.

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Stella Gambardella
Stella G4 years ago

Finalmente qualcosa di buono, spero che le misure siano efficaci, anche se penso a quanti elefanti purtroppo nell'attesa sono stati uccisi.

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Beverly C.
Cathy K4 years ago

THANK YOU FOR THE INFORMATION.

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Erin H.
Erin H4 years ago

Interesting article, thank you

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Maria Teresa Schollhorn

Thanks for sharing.

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B M.
Bu M4 years ago

kill the poachers

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Theresa Robinson
Theresa Robinson4 years ago

C'ON NOW! THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR TO LONG. AND I'M SICK OF IT. SOMEONE NEED'S TO PUT A STOP TO THIS RIGHT FN NOW ENOUGH IS ENOUGH .THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE. (GOVERNMENT) IT SEEM'S.THE GOVERNMENT IS INVOLVED WITH EVERYTHING THAT'S OUT THERE AND FOR THE WRONG REASON'S.THERE SNAKE'S AND SNEAKY. T.R THE PEOPLE WHO BUY THE IVORY ARE WORSE THEN THE POACHER'S AS WE ALL KNOW.

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Tricia Hamilton
Tricia Hamilton4 years ago

Please help these animals.

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