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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 22, 2020 10:08 AM
From: Representative Benjamin V. Sanchez
To: All House members
Subject: Legislation Prohibiting the Import, Sale, Purchase, Barter, or Possession of Elephant Ivory or Rhinoceros Horns

According to the National Geographic Society, between 2014 and 2017, more than 100,000 African elephants were killed for their ivory. Based on 2019 data, one elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory, which equates to approximately 35,000 elephants killed annually. In addition, over the past decade, 9,442 rhinos were illegally killed by poachers in Africa alone. That is nearly one every 15 hours.

While the federal government restricts the import, export, and interstate commerce of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horns, intrastate trafficking is unregulated under federal law. It is important to note that not only is this a conservation and wildlife issue, but it is also one of national and international security because the illegal trafficking of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horns are often directly linked to the funding of global terrorist organizations. According to the U.S. Department of State, the White House, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Interior (including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), funds from the trade of these items often goes directly to the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab, the Lord’s Resistance Army, Janjaweed, Boko Haram, as well as other international terrorist groups.

In an effort to address these threats to our wildlife and security, I plan to introduce legislation that would prohibit the import, sale, purchase, barter, or possession of elephant ivory, elephant ivory products, rhinoceros horns, and rhinoceros horn products in the Commonwealth. Exceptions would be made for antiques, musical instruments, and other historical items that have been lawfully conveyed from one owner to another. In addition, the Pennsylvania Game Commission would be authorized to permit the import, sale, offer for sale, purchase, barter, or possession of elephant ivory, elephant ivory products, rhinoceros horns, and rhinoceros horn products for educational or scientific purposes.
As elected leaders of the Commonwealth, we have a duty to take action to not only help save elephants and rhinoceroses from extinction, but to do all we can to aid the federal government in the fight against terrorism.

Please join me in support of this important legislation.