On August 5th, in an important move to end his state’s involvement in two particularly egregious forms of international wildlife trafficking, New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed legislation to restrict the import, sale, purchase, barter or intent to sell of ivory and rhino horn. Though the law permits the ongoing sale of some ivory and rhino horn if legally acquired before certain dates, it prohibits import and sale of all other ivory and rhino horn products.
The killing is relentless. As you read this urgent alert, another African elephant will be gunned down by poachers to feed the insatiable demand for ivory. In recent years, nearly 100 elephants have been killed each day across Africa, devastating local elephant populations. Many fall victim to criminal syndicates and terrorist organizations that fund their illegal activities through the illicit trade in wildlife products, particularly ivory. In the past decade, 65 percent of forest elephants have been lost and savannah elephant populations are also being decimated.
While much of the illicit ivory trade is destined for China, the United States is the second largest market for illegal ivory, thereby directly contributing to the cruel slaughter of these iconic animals. While the federal government is trying to tighten ivory import/export rules, no final regulations have been enacted. Individual states, however, have the opportunity to impose their own laws to restrict the ivory trade and some are doing just that.
New Jersey is a key player in this trade, given its various ports that provide smugglers points of entry to import ivory for eventual sale in New York City and other Eastern Seaboard cities. Senate Bill 2012, which passed with overwhelming support out of the state legislature on June 16, is currently awaiting Governor Christie's signature. If signed, this bill would substantially limit the role of New Jersey in fueling the ivory trade and the slaughter of African elephants by significantly restricting the possession and commercial sale of all forms of ivory. The bill also places restrictions on the sale of rhino horn products to help save Africa's rhinos.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Governor Christie has until July 31, 2014, to sign S. 2012 into law. Unfortunately, some special interests are lobbying him to reject this bill. We urgently need your help to make a last-minute push to convince him to protect Africa's elephants by significantly restricting the possession and commercial sale of ivory in the Garden State. To help, please immediately send a short, courteous letter to the governor asking him to support S. 2012.
Click here to send a message to Governor Christie via AWI's Compassion Index. Once you access the Compassion Index page, you will find suggested language to include in your email.
Remember to act by Wednesday (July 30) so that the governor can take your views into consideration before deciding on S. 2012.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent issue. Please share this alert with your family, friends, and colleagues and ask them to step up to help save Africa's elephants.