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State legislators make elephant history with unprecedented ivory ban

EXTRACT FROM THE FOLLOWING THIRD PARTY SOURCE: Written by Elephants DC for The Dodo

Victory! The New Jersey State Assembly overwhelmingly approved a bill banning ivory and rhino horn sales on Monday, making New Jersey the first state to take a definitive stand against wildlife trafficking.

The historic measure passed with a landslide vote of 76-2 in the State Assembly, where it was advanced by Assemblyman Raj Mukherji. Last week, it received unanimous support in the State Senate under the leadership of the bill’s first sponsor and champion, Senator Raymond J. Lesniak.

Assemblyman Raj Mukherji of Jersey City successfully advocated for the New Jersey State Assembly to support S.2012, which calls for the state to ban elephant ivory and rhino horn sales. © Rebecca Nowalski.

Assemblyman Raj Mukherji of Jersey City successfully advocated for the New Jersey State Assembly to support S.2012, which calls for the state to ban elephant ivory and rhino horn sales. © Rebecca Nowalski.

New Jersey’s bill is a crucial step in the fight against a brutal wildlife trafficking industry that turns a US$19 billion profit worldwide. With elephant poaching reaching crisis levels in Africa, and the profits from the illegal ivory trade funding terrorist organisations such as the al Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab and the Lord’s Resistance Army, this legislation is a loud and proud statement that New Jersey will have no part in the blood ivory trade.

The groundbreaking measure in the Garden State also has national implications for combating wildlife trafficking. As Assemblyman Mukherji told Elephants DC, the first organisation to advocate for the bill, “New Jersey is critical to the national effort in closing the ivory market. Nefarious evildoers are using our state to smuggle raw ivory and other illegal wildlife products into New York City, the number one buyer of ivory within the United States.”

New Jersey’s bold stand is bound to inspire other states to take action against wildlife trafficking, as well. “Illegal ivory threatens the very existence of elephants on the face of the earth,” said Senator Lesniak. “We know [this bill] will be an inspiration to other states, Congress, and indeed other countries in the world to follow our lead.”

Senator Raymond J. Lesniak stands with advocates from Elephants DC and the Humane Society after the historic passage of New Jersey's ivory and rhino horn sales ban. The elephant pictured is Satao, the largest tusker in Kenya recently slaughtered by poachers. © Rebecca Nowalski.

Senator Raymond J. Lesniak stands with advocates from Elephants DC and the Humane Society after the historic passage of New Jersey’s ivory and rhino horn sales ban. The elephant pictured is Satao, the largest tusker in Kenya recently slaughtered by poachers. © Rebecca Nowalski.

Elephants DC are extremely proud of New Jersey for fighting back against the brutal poaching epidemic. “This bill is the strongest in the nation, and lawmakers refused to amend it with ivory carve out exemptions,” said Elephants DC founder and president Jen Samuel. “All we can say is: ‘Thank you New Jersey, and bless you!'”



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