Resolution introduced at yesterday’s Board of Supervisors meeting in support Assembly Bill 96, co-authored by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Senator Ricardo Lara, which would prohibit the sale of ivory and rhinoceros horn in California.
San Francisco, CA – Yesterday, Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced a resolution at the Board of Supervisors in support of Assembly Bill 96, which would strictly prohibit the sale of ivory and rhinoceros horn in California. Supervisor Katy Tang co-sponsored the resolution.
AB 96, introduced by Speaker of the California State Assembly Toni Atkins and co-authored by State Senator Ricardo Lara, prohibits a person from purchasing, selling, offering for sale, possessing with intent to sell, or importing with intent to sell ivory or rhinoceros horn, except as specified for educational or scientific criteria, or consistent with defined antiquities provisions.
“We need to put an end – in a firm and permanent way – to the extermination of elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns,” said Supervisor Wiener. “The only way to end this despicable behavior is to eliminate the market for ivory and rhino horns. AB 96, finally, closes the glaring loophole that has allowed the sale of ivory and rhino horns to thrive in San Francisco and elsewhere. It’s time to close the loophole and put an end to this cruel industry, one that threatens to drive elephants and rhinos to extinction.”
“The slaughter of elephants for their tusks and rhinos for their horns is as senseless as it is cruel,” said Speaker Atkins. “AB 96 closes a massive loophole that allows the illegal ivory trade to continue to flourish and adds real enforcement teeth to the law so California can do our part to end the slaughter.”
Within the U.S., San Francisco consistently ranks among the top markets for illegal ivory trade. This demand for ivory has resulted in the poaching of elephants and rhinoceroses at alarming rates. An average of 96 elephants per day are killed in Africa and some estimates suggest that central African elephants could be extinct by 2025. More than 1,020 rhinoceroses out of 29,000 remaining in South Africa were poached alone in 2014. Rhinoceros poaching is increasing by 30% each year.
In addition, it was recently reported that poachers are poisoning vultures, pushing them toward endangered status, since circling vultures are one of the few ways authorities are able to tell where an elephant or rhino has been killed.
“We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the damage caused by this underground economy, and we hope that other jurisdictions will join us in this effort,” said Supervisor Katy Tang, co-sponsor of the legislation. “It takes all of us, from all around the world, to do our part in eliminating this inhumane practice.”
With the passage of AB 96, California would join States like New York and New Jersey in passing similar legislation to prohibit trade in ivory
"African elephant populations have reached a tipping point with more elephants being killed and dying than are being born,” said Rosemary Alles, March for Elephants San Francisco. An estimated 100,000 elephants were killed in the last 3 years, and elephant populations are down from 1.3 million in 1979 to fewer than 400,000 individuals today. A similar fate rules the rhinoceros: several species are already extinct or nearly gone. Of the less than 28,000 rhino remaining in Africa, one is killed every 8-12 hours by poachers. In this context, the reality that San Francisco is the second largest market for illegal ivory in the USA is abhorrent. Ivory and rhino horn trade must cease."
Supervisor Wiener’s resolution would put the City and County of San Francisco on record in full support of Assembly Bill 96, and strongly condemning the illegal poaching of elephants and rhinoceroses.
The resolution will be considered at the Land Use and Economic Committee on Monday, February 2nd at 1:30pm in Room 263 of City Hall.