Governor Phil Scott signed H.99 (ACT 169) into law last week, making Vermont the 12th state in the nation to ban the trade of imperiled wildlife parts. The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2022.
State bans are critical to ending demand in the United States, one of the largest importers of imperiled wildlife parts in the world. Federal law only restricts import, export, and interstate trade. If there is no state law, the trade is free and clear once the item arrives in the state.
The new law will stop trade within the state of Vermont of imperiled wildlife parts from 15 of the world’s most at-risk species, including: elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, hippos, jaguars, leopards, lions, pangolins, rays, sea turtles, sharks, tigers, primates, and whales. This also includes elephant ivory that is poached and disguised as ancient ivory from Wooly Mammoths and Mastodons.
As per the new bill, people are allowed to keep ivory that they already possess, pass it down, or give it away, they just cannot sell it. Exemptions include musical instruments.
“This legislation is vitally important because any sale of ivory, whether new or old, fuels demand,” Brenna Galdenzi, Co-Founder and President of Protect Our Wildlife said in a statement. “As long as we, right here in Vermont, place a monetary value on endangered animal parts, it fuels wildlife trafficking and poaching.”
Protect Our Wildlife has been working with Vermont for Wildlife’s Co-founder Ashley Prout McAvey, making this effort a focus of their work since they first started their nonprofit in February of 2015.
“My hope is that Vermont’s latest action will encourage the remaining 38 states to act swiftly to close their markets in these imperiled animal parts,” shared McAvey. “When all 50 states take a stand, the nation will be making a resounding impact in the battle against extinction.”
States that have enacted similar legislation include: New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, California, Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, Illinois, Minnesota, and New Mexico.
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