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New York - July 25, 2015  – The following statement was released today by WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper, who also serves on the U.S. Federal Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking. Samper’s statement concerns remarks by President Obama delivered in Kenya on ivory.

“President Obama made it clear today that the United States is taking seriously its responsibility to help end wildlife trafficking. As one of the largest markets for ivory and both legal and illegal wildlife parts and products, the United States must continue to stand up against the criminals and corruption driving this illegal wildlife trade crisis.

“Ivory and rhino horn, derived from the illegal killing of elephants and rhinos in Africa and Asia, are typically trafficked by transnational organized crime syndicates across the world, including into the United States. The United States has a global obligation to help stop wildlife trafficking. We welcome the leadership of the Obama Administration in using the expertise, influence, and assistance of the United States to help end this scourge. Wildlife trafficking annihilates wildlife populations and has severe negative impacts on local security and economies.

“We applaud President Obama’s remarks emphasizing the need for tighter controls on ivory sales in the United States. President Obama is doing the right thing in the United States to stop wildlife trafficking, as we ask other governments to do the same. 

“Just two months ago, China stated that it would cease the processing and domestic sale of ivory. This is a most welcome statement, and when the measures are implemented, together with action by the United States and other governments, they will help end the poaching and trafficking crisis, which threatens elephants and other species, and the very security of local communities across Africa and elsewhere.

“It is fitting that the President has made this announcement in Kenya, which along with so many other countries in Africa is struggling to end the poaching crisis. Elephants are integral parts of many cultures in Africa and in the continent’s natural heritage. Due largely to poaching, about 35,000 African elephants are killed every year, about 96 a day.

“Thanks in large part to President Obama’s leadership, the world is moving in the right direction for Africa’s elephants and other species threatened by poaching and trafficking. Closing the US market, along with providing assistance to range and transit countries in anti-poaching and anti-trafficking efforts, will help turn the tide in the fight to save the world’s remaining elephants. We must continue to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand.”


About the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit:;  Follow: @thewcs.

 96 Elephants
WCS is leading global efforts to save Africa’s elephants and end the current poaching and ivory trafficking crisis. In September 2013, WCS launched its 96 Elephants campaign to amplify and support the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) “Partnership to Save Africa’s Elephants” by stopping the killing, stopping the trafficking, and stopping the demand. The WCS campaign focuses on: securing effective moratoria on sales of ivory; bolstering elephant protection; and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis.