|美國歐巴馬與肯亞總統肯亞塔（Uhuru Kenyatta）。圖片來源：U.S. Embassy Nairobi（CC BY-NC 2.0）|
|為了供給全球象牙黑市，目前的盜獵犯平均每15分鐘就殺害一頭大象。圖片來源：animalrescueblog（CC BY-NC 2.0）|
President Barack Obama is proposing to forbid the sale of “virtually all ivory across state lines” in the United States.
During his first visit as president to his father’s homeland of Kenya, Obama told reporters Saturday he will restrict the U.S. trade in elephant ivory to protect Africa’s elephants, which are targeted by poachers for sale on the black market.
Obama announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to prohibit most interstate commerce in African elephant ivory and further restrict commercial exports. This action, combined with other actions the Obama Administration has already taken, will result in a near total ban on the domestic commercial trade of African elephant ivory.
The proposed rule builds upon restrictions put in place last year following President Obama’s Executive Order on combating wildlife trafficking. Yet despite existing regulations, the United States is the world’s second-largest market for ivory, behind China.
Poachers currently kill, on average, one elephant every 15 minutes to supply the global black market, threatening the African elephant with extinction.
An estimated 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory between 2010 and 2012. The carcasses of illegally killed elephants now litter some of Africa’s premiere parks. Elephants are under threat even in areas that were once thought to be safe havens.
As stated in the President’s July 2013 Executive Order, wildlife trafficking reduces the economic, social and environmental benefits of wildlife while generating billions of dollars in illicit revenues each year, contributing to an illegal economy, fueling instability and undermining security.
During the last year, the Fish and Wildlife Service consulted extensively with groups that may be impacted by new trade controls for ivory, including professional musicians, antique dealers and collectors, and museum curators.
Based on consideration of the input from those groups and others, the proposed rule allows specific, limited exceptions for certain pre-existing manufactured items such as musical instruments, furniture pieces, and firearms that contain less than 200 grams of ivory. Antiques, as defined by law, are also exempt from its prohibitions.
The Fish and Wildlife Service recognizes that legal trade in these items does not contribute to the current poaching crisis.
Kenya has begun the annual process of compiling her national stockpiles of elephant ivory and rhino horn in an exercise that was officially launched by the Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Professor Judi Wakhungu on July 21 at Kenya Wildlife Service headquarters in Nairobi.
Required by law, officials taking an inventory of all ivory and rhino horn stockpiles in the country, including court exhibits and any other that might be held by other agencies by virtue of their legal mandate such as the judiciary, police, Customs, and wildlife conservancies among others.
The inventory is being undertaken using digital technology that has been tested and successfully applied in other African elephant range States. KWS has partnered with Stop Ivory, a UK-based NGO to support the 45 day exercise by offering technical and financial support. Members of the inventory teams have been drawn from KWS and Stop Ivory with support from university students.
The exercise involves collection of elephant ivory and rhino horn samples, which will be used to create a DNA reference library for profiling the national populations of elephants and rhinos. The DNA library will be a central component in analysis of forensic evidence for use in prosecution of wildlife crime not only in Kenya but also in the region.