Illegal ivory trade online in America

Illegal ivory trade online in America

When most people hear about the illegal ivory trade they usually think of it taking place in remote destinations overseas, far from the coasts of America. What if we told you that the Pacific Northwest was home to such activity? While endangered animals are not being killed in places like Seattle or Portland, the products of these illegal killings are being sold in the Northwest. While it may not be the largest market for illegal animal product sales the states felt that it was enough of a problem that a law was passed in both Washington and Oregon that outlawed the trade or sale of products made from certain endangered animals, such as elephants, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, and rhinos. Both states passed the laws after voters backed the measures in overwhelming margins.

With the Northwest being a gateway to countries where these items are sought they are often brought into the country here such as furs, boots, skin cream, and even elephant tusks. Recently, two Washington men were the first to be charged under the new law for allegedly selling ivory. One man was charged after caught trying to sell carved ivory on eBay. While eBay forbids the sale of ivory, traders use code words to try to disguise the fact that the item is illegal.

The second man was allegedly selling ivory on craigslist which makes us wonder if those ads were disguised at all, knowing craigslist’s reputation. The man was said to be in possession of close to 2,000 different ivory items at the time of the initial investigation. While neither suspect has been jailed, they’re both facing a potential five years in prison, a $10,000 fine and a $4,000 criminal wildlife penalty paid to the state.

If you live in Washington and you happen to be in possession of a piece of ivory that was obtained before the 2014 ban you can give them to state law enforcement where they’ll be used in education programs to combat wildlife trafficking.