Illegal Ivory Poachers and Buyers: U.S. Slaps Wake-Up Call

posted by Frank Butterman Food Inspector @ 7:00 AM
November 16, 2013

485918_460380054019821_1172444485_nThe United States gave huge symbolic warnings to poachers who massacre elephants in Africa, as well as their purchasers throughout Asia:  there will be stiff penalties if they continue in the nefarious practice of destroying animal kingdoms.

Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Denver crushed and set fire to six tons of ivory it had stored up over 25 years.  the guardian.com explains: “The items were seized from smugglers, traders and tourists at US ports of entry after a global ban on the ivory trade came into effect in 1989.”
Maya Rhodan of Time Magazine says the government’s message is clear:
“The Obama administration has a message for consumers and vendors of illegal ivory: the United States will not stand for poaching.” USFWS is hoping that the sound of a massive rock-crushers smashing tons of husks, statues, ceremonial bowls, jewelry and other trinkets is clearly and loudly heard around the world.

As soon as officials realized that Asia’s newfound wealth led to slaughtering and poaching two-thirds of Africa’s elephant population, in 1989, The African Conservation Act was set in place to ban exports and imports any ivory materials.

Daniel Ashe, USFWS Director exclaims: “We are taking an important step . . . in the hopes of raising the profile of this issue and also to try to inspire other nations around the world to deal with their stockpiles.”

This summer, the Philippines crushed and burned another 5 tons of ivory, and Kenya has burned theirs as well.  But the Kenyas-illegal-ivory-trad-005push to destroy the ivory market is difficult.  According to Rhodan, “Ivory has been estimated as worth more than cocaine and gold on the black market, with annual revenue of about $10 billion.”

Thus, governments around the world, especially the United States, is sending a huge message to organized crime which has amassed native smugglers and even military teams––such as the Lord’s Resistance Army in the Congo, and alShabab in Somalia––to even kill wildlife officers who would interfere with their bounty.

Azzedine Downes, President of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, insists:  “This is a way to say to people we are not putting a value on ivory. We’re putting a value on the lives of the elephants.”

Steve Oberholtzer, USFWS special agent, further explains:  “What is striking to me is the lengths that some commercial importers and smugglers will go to conceal their ivory, everything from staining it with colors to covering it with leather.  The stakes are high in the ivory trade.”

If nefarious men who kill human beings so they can de-horn and butcher elephants, they should then understand the price that God puts upon the life of both the man and the elephant.  Several Christian messages make it clear:

“And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death (Leviticus 24: 21).  So how will poachers and buyers restore an elephant?  They cannot. Thus, without repentance, only death and hell remain for both poachers, their crime bosses, and the buyers of ivory products.  The price of eternity in the fires of hell for an ivory statue––unimaginable price to pay!

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