WWF issued the following statement from Ginette Hemley, Senior Vice President of Wildlife Conservation, in reaction to today’s announcement by US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) that it will destroy more than 1 ton of confiscated elephant ivory in Times Square, New York City:
“The US government is using one of the world’s most iconic public squares to say loud and clear that the illegal ivory trade must be annihilated.
“We are honored to again join the US government and other partners in publicly condemning elephant poaching and ivory trafficking. But there is more to be done. Legal sale of ivory continues in the US, providing an opening for illegal, freshly poached ivory to enter the country. The fact that the US has another ton of confiscated ivory to destroy so soon after it crushed a 6-ton stockpile in 2013 offers a glimpse into just how significant the US illegal ivory market is.
“The US must act urgently to end commercial sale of ivory and enact federal ivory regulations that have been languishing in review for more than a year. It is critical that we ensure that US trade is no longer contributing to the mass slaughter of wild elephants.
“Africa finds itself in the midst of an unprecedented poaching crisis, with as many as 30,000 elephants being killed for their ivory each year. Ivory trade is not only robbing Africa of its elephants, it also threatens the lives and livelihoods of local communities. This illicit trade is also funding terrorist organizations, undermining US national security and the security of the region.
“WWF stands with the US government in this historic fight."