On February 11, 2014, President Obama announced he would take administrative action to ban the commercial trade of elephant ivory in the United States. In addition, he outlined a national strategy to more effectively combat overall wildlife trafficking. (For complete details, click here.)
Now for the difficult part — making it happen. Why is it difficult if the President has the authority to accomplish this through the power he already possesses? Because in our democracy everyone has a right to participate in how such action is actually implemented. As they say, the devil is in the details. Since his announcement, a number of special interests have descended upon Washington with all sorts of reasons why banning trade in elephant ivory is bad for America.
One of the loudest protests has come from the Safari Club International (SCI), an organization representing the interests of trophy hunters. Sport hunting of elephant is allowed in Zimbabwe and Tanzania. Recognizing the importance of revenue generated from hunting in those countries, the Administration proposes to “limit the number of African elephant sport-hunted trophies that an individual can import to two per hunter per year.” However, in a press release, the SCI states: “It is unknown precisely when the decision by the U.S. FWS will occur, but SCI will do everything in its power to fight this reckless decision that has no basis in law, science, or conservation policy.”
Over the years, the SCI and its members have contributed significantly to conservation causes, but this stance is selfish and short-sighted.
Along with the NRA (another opponent to the President’s proposal), the SCI has some powerful resources at its disposal. The elephants need us to rise to the occasion and let the administration know that the majority of us think the proposed ban is a good idea.
Here is what you can do. Beginning tomorrow, a new website, www.elephantsusa.org/, goes live. Created by a group of concerned citizens, Sign for Elephants, the purpose is to collect 100,000 signatures on an online petition to ban the commercial trade in ivory in the US. Based on the First Amendment of our Constitution, our government is required to respond to any petition having a minimum of 100,000 signatures. Using the White House sponsored website, “We the People,” you can register and sign any petition that has been posted on this site. On May 1, Sign for Elephants will be available for signing.
Click here to begin the process to sign the petition and join the Elephant Lobby.