WORLD WILDLIFE FUND URGES CONGRESS TO TIGHTEN CONTROLS ON IVORY TRADE Washington, D.C. - T

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WORLD WILDLIFE FUND URGES CONGRESS TO TIGHTEN CONTROLS ON IVORY TRADE Washington, D.C. -- The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on June 22 called on Congress to crack down on illegal ivory trade. In testimony on the proposed African Elephant Conservation Act before the House Subcommittee on Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and the Environment, WWF urged an international campaign to end the precipitous decline of elephant populations. A provision in the act gives the Secretary of the Interior authority to impose a moratorium on imports from any ivory-producing nation that has not made significant progress in protecting its elephants by October, 1989. WWF recommended that the U.S. prohibit imports of ivory tusks from any country that is not a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and does not have a valid CITES ivory quota. In addition, he asked for restrictions on raw and worked ivory imports. The plight of the African elephant is critical. The major causes of this disaster are the world's seemingly insatiable appetite for ivory and the greed of middlemen who foster illegal trade. Only a major international campaign with a multipronged approach can end the needless carnage. Steps to be taken include strengthening of CITES, refinement of quotas, and strengthening anti-poaching efforts. The cost of the proposed effort would be $4 million a year for the next three years. If Congress authorizes and appropriates half that amount for the Elephant Conservation Fund in the proposed legislation, WWF would seek to raise an equal amount. In the last 4 years WWF has spent over $1.5 million helping African countries protect elephants and their habitat.

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