Ivory trade

Oregon Zoo's position on the ivory trade

More than 100,000 African elephants were killed for their tusks between 2010 and 2012. The illegal ivory trade - operated by highly organized international crime syndicates - is rapidly driving the world's largest land animal toward extinction.

The Oregon Zoo believes that bringing an end to the ivory trade in the U.S will help stop the illegal killing of elephants.

Key points

  • Every year, poachers kill tens of thousands of elephants so that their tusks can be turned into ornamental objects, jewelry and trinkets. 
  • Asian countries are often blamed for driving the poaching of elephants, but the United States is also a major contributor to the poaching crisis. Americans are ranked second to the Chinese in ivory demand and holding. 
  • Avoiding the purchase of any ivory - whether it is sold legally or illegally – helps decrease the demand that kills elephants for their tusks. 
  • By avoiding ivory, Americans can tell the world that an elephant's life is more valuable than a trinket. 
  • Pledging to not purchase ivory and encouraging others to take the pledge will help draw attention to the elephant poaching crisis. 
  • Supporting anti-illegal wildlife trade initiatives in the U.S. can help enforce existing wildlife laws and disincentivize illegal ivory traffickers and sellers. 
  • Governments are ramping up efforts to stop wildlife crime in the U.S. and abroad. By thanking government officials and encouraging them to do more, individuals can take global-scale action to crush the illegal wildlife trade. 
  • By supporting the Wildlife Conservation Society's 96 elephants campaign, Americans can help bring an end to the trade that kills elephants.