The following statement was released today by John Calvelli, Wildlife Conservation Society Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants Campaign:
"The Wildlife Conservation Society welcomes the introduction of a bill into the New York State Legislature proposing a sweeping ban on the sale of ivory in New York State, Assembly bill A8824. This legislation is a key component to global efforts to stopping the killing, stopping the trafficking, and stopping the demand of elephant ivory.
"WCS applauds the leadership of New York Assemblyman Robert K. Sweeney for introducing this much-needed legislation as New York is the number one importer of ivory into the U.S. This legislation will enhance federal efforts announced last week by President Obama to tighten the ivory trade ban on a federal level. While these federal efforts are a major step in ending the ivory trade, state collaboration is critical to ensuring that the sale of ivory is truly banned in the United States.
"WCS will work to support this legislation through its 96 Elephants Campaign, named for the number of elephants gunned down each day in Africa. We urge for its swift passage as time is running out for Africa's elephants, which continue to be slaughtered by poachers. Just last week, Wildlife Conservation Society scientists reported grim news that nearly ten percent of the world's forest elephants were killed in 2012 and again in 2013.
"The world is waking up to this issue. Last September, eleven African nations stood up at the Clinton Global Initiative and asked for help from the world community to stop the wave of poaching led by organized crime that ravaged their respective countries. Since then, there has been a growing rallying cry to save elephants, with the U.S., China, France, Chad and Hong Kong destroying, or announcing they will destroy, stockpiles of illegal ivory.
"But much more needs to be done, and we are hopeful that New York will be helping lead the charge to protect Africa's elephants."
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