Last week, France became the first country in the European Union (EU) to outlaw domestic trading in ivory tusks and rhinoceros horns. French Environment Minister Ségolène Royal signed a decree banning the trade in France and all French territories, far surpassing the EU’s wildlife trade regulations, which sanction the sale of ivory that was obtained from an elephant before 1947. France’s new law also makes it illegal to sell or restore ivory purchased before 1975, even if it was bought legally. “The demand for these wildlife products has led to a poaching epidemic that has not only decimated elephant and rhino populations across Africa and Asia, but also helps to fund organized crime and terrorism,” Humane Society International/Europe Executive Director Joanna Swabe said. “We strongly applaud Minister Royal’s commitment to stamping out poaching and wildlife trafficking and urge other EU Member States to follow suit.” In July, the EU declined to ban the ivory trade, just before a near-total ivory trade ban went into effect throughout the United States.
Photo courtesy of Thure Cerling, University of Utah