Obama Cracks Down on US Ivory Sales

Sellers will now have to prove their ivory is legit

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 12, 2014 8:23 AM CST

(Newser) – The Obama administration today announced a ban on nearly all ivory imports, exports, and sales, along with rules designed to make skirting the ban especially difficult. Under the new rules, all commercial imports of African elephant ivory are banned, including antiques. Most domestic sales will be banned as well; there are exemptions for antiques, as well as ivory that meets Endangered Species Act protections, but it'll be up to sellers to prove beyond doubt that their ivory qualifies.

That last change is especially important, activists tell the Washington Post, because it's been nearly impossible for law enforcement to figure out which ivory was purchased before the 1989 ban. "We're eliminating the loopholes that help smugglers launder newly poached blood ivory via US markets," the chief of law enforcement for the US Fish and Wildlife Service tells National Geographic. The move comes just in time for a global summit on wildlife trafficking that David Cameron is hosting today and tomorrow.

This Nov. 14, 2013 file photo shows confiscated decorative ivory piled together in preparation to be destroyed during an event at the National Wildlife Property Repository  in Commerce City, Colo.
This Nov. 14, 2013 file photo shows confiscated decorative ivory piled together in preparation to be destroyed during an event at the National Wildlife Property Repository in Commerce City, Colo.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)
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