African Elephants
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Karl Ammann / Digital Vision / Getty Images.
African Mask
Close Caption
Idia, the first Iyoba
(Queen Mother of Benin),
16th c. Ivory.
Photo: The Granger Collection, NYC-All rights reserved.
Saving Elephants
You decide if a new law will help stop elephant poaching

Around the world, elephants are endangered. In Africa, poachers hunt the massive mammals for their ivory tusks. Ivory can be carved into beautiful works of art, like the mask shown above right.

The United States government is trying to help stop the poaching. In 1989, the U.S. imposed a law making it illegal to trade new African elephant ivory. But it is hard to distinguish antique ivory from new ivory taken from recently killed elephants. Despite the 1989 law, poachers continued to kill elephants, secretly selling new ivory artworks as antiques on the black market.

In an effort to stop black-market poaching, the U.S. government recently revised the 1989 law to include a ban on the sale of antique ivory as well as new ivory. Unless collectors can prove that their ivory artwork was made before 1914 or that they acquired it before 1974, they no longer have the legal right to sell it. With this ban in place, the government hopes to discourage poachers by making most ivory objects, both new and old, worthless.

Most people want to save the elephants, but some are not happy about the new law. Antique-ivory collectors argue that the law won’t help save elephants, but will hurt their businesses. They also point out that the new law applies only to American collectors. The largest demand for ivory is from Asia, where the material is sacred in some religions. So while American collectors won’t be able to sell their antique ivory, poachers will still have plenty of demand in Asia for new ivory.

What do you think? To stop the sale of new ivory, is it right to ban the sale of antique ivory in the U.S.?

CRAFT AN ARGUMENT

1. Why does the U.S. government think it is necessary to ban the sale of nearly all ivory?
2. Why do antique-ivory collectors believe that banning the sale of antique ivory won’t stop poaching?
3. Choose a position. Is it right to change the laws about antique ivory in order to stop the sale of new ivory?


I think that the law will not stop people from selling ivory. in Africa poaching ivory is illegal but there is still the black market. Also people who buy ivory for religious reasons might get angry. The government should try to save the elephants without hurting peoples religion.
Posted by: Nora H. | October 17, 2014 at 1:49 PM
yes it should be illegal to sell antique ivory whether it hurts their business or not because people will start to kill elephants and clam that it is antique if they let people sell antique ivory.
Posted by: Sarah C. | October 17, 2014 at 1:50 PM
I think that antique ivory should only be sold or gifted to museums. They have the qualifications to date the artwork and are more interested in the historical significance of the objects.
Posted by: Karen C. | October 20, 2014 at 2:56 PM
I think that the ivory shouldn't be used in art because they didn't do the work. The elephants tusks did the work. I think that it will stop poaching so that will solve the problem.
Posted by: Cedrick D. | October 22, 2014 at 6:07 PM
I think the law will not stop because they can go to Asia and get new ivory. They shouldn't kill the elephants for ivory because that's all their killing them for.
Posted by: J.T. S. | October 22, 2014 at 6:07 PM
The U.S. wants to save elephants. So they made a new law making it illegal to sell new ivory, but people just sell new ivory, and pass it off as old. For this reason the U.S. has banned the sale of all ivory in the united states. That way ivory becomes worthless in the U.S. And elephants aren't killed for it. Antique ivory collectors believe this won't work because the main demand for Ivory is in Asia, so banning it in the U.S. won't help anything. I think this law is kind of pointless.
Posted by: Eli J. | October 22, 2014 at 6:07 PM
1. Because when they kill the elephants for the ivory, which is a lot of money. So the elephants start to become endangered. 2. Because, people will still do it just to get money. Plus on the black market it is a big sale. 3.I think that it is right because the elephants are dying, and they to me are pretty cool animals like they are so big and I wouldn't want them to be gone forever.
Posted by: Spencer L. | October 22, 2014 at 6:08 PM
I think that elephants are endangered. Hunters hunt massive mammals for their ivory tusks. In 1989, the U.S made it illegal to trade new African elephant ivory. So they are banning it to save elephants. It is hard to distinguish antique ivory from new ivory taken from recently killed elephants. Despite the 1989 law, poachers continued to kill elephants, secretly selling new ivory artworks as antiques on the black market.
Posted by: Kira R. | October 22, 2014 at 6:08 PM
Elephants are endangered so they want people to stop killing them for their ivory tusks. If people can't sell ivory there is no point to kill elephants. The largest demand for ivory is from Asia, where the material is sacred in some religions. While American collectors won't be able to sell their antique ivory, poachers will still have plenty of demand in Asia for new ivory.
Posted by: Taylor B. | October 22, 2014 at 6:08 PM
Elephants are becoming endangered. The U.S government is trying to stop people from poaching elephants. People are killing elephants for ivory, and they are just killing the elephants for that. People are just selling the ivory for money from the elephants. Collectors want to keep ivory for themselves. Some people might kill the elephants just for that, and some people might sell ivory to other poachers without anyone knowing what they're doing. Collectors want to keep making money.
Posted by: Keri P. | October 22, 2014 at 6:09 PM
1. Why does the U.S. government think it is necessary to ban the sale of nearly all ivory? Because they want the elephant population to go back up. 2. Why do antique-ivory collectors believe that banning the sale of antique ivory won’t stop poaching? Because everyone wants some for art or to sell. 3. Choose a position. Is it right to change the laws about antique ivory in order to stop the sale of new ivory? I think it is so the elephants won't go extinct, also so they can save more elephants.
Posted by: Kayleigh W. | October 22, 2014 at 6:09 PM
Because it is killing the elephants off. They think it is good for them. Yes it is necessary.
Posted by: AnnMarie K. | October 22, 2014 at 6:09 PM
I think that is thouldnt be sold that it should be kept in a museum or at art museum. I dont think its right for people to kill elephants.
Posted by: chloe h. | October 22, 2014 at 6:10 PM
1.because there are few elephants left and they must be killed to get the Ivory from there tusks.... we want to protect elephants which means NO MORE IVORY. 2. Becasue there are always going to be people wanting it and a black market to fill there needs. They don't care if they are breaking a law. 3.I think Ivory sales should be banned so that they can protect all of the elephants and so they will be here in the future.
Posted by: Beau B. | October 22, 2014 at 6:10 PM
I think that the laws will not stop people from selling ivory from elephant tusks, or any ivory resource. People who poach ivory in Africa are breaking the law, and they always have. The black market is a place for them to sell/poach antique ivory sculptures, and it's not okay. But even though it's not okay, there's a very good chance that they'll still be sold at the black market. I do wish it would stop, but, sadly, I don't think it will.
Posted by: Max K. | October 22, 2014 at 6:10 PM
I think that antigue ivory should only be sold or gifted to museums. They have qualificatins to date the artwork and are more interasted in the hisorrical signifcance of the object.
Posted by: Marissa A. | October 22, 2014 at 6:11 PM
I am 100% with the agreement of banning Ivory sales. I think that the people who were unfortunate enough to be sneaky and make antiques out of the ivory are very selfish and greedy people. I also think the government should be more careful about dealing with the situation. Even though their still is the black market, they need to be cautious of peoples religions.
Posted by: Lauren G. | October 24, 2014 at 2:17 PM
Elephants are now endangered. In Africa, the main reason is because of poaching. These animals are being killed for the ivory that is in their tusks. They use the ivory for works of ar, but sooner or later, elephants are going to become extinct from poaching. The antique-ivory collectors believe that the law won't save elephants but will only hurt their business. They also had noticed that the new law only applies to American collectors. I personally believe that they shouldn't completely ban the sell of ivory, but consider the elephants needs. They should make it more strict as to when you can hunt the elephants and how much ivory you can and can't sell. You may not get the chance to use ivory, but the species of elephants may become extinct forever if it isn't watched carefully.
Posted by: Kyleigh P. | October 24, 2014 at 2:18 PM
Elephants are being poached for their ivory so the U.S. made it illegal to trade and buy ivory. They also made it illegal to sell ivory that is as from 1974 to new. The largest demand for ivory is made from Asia. While American collectors won't be able to sell their antique ivory, poachers will still have plenty of demand in Asia for new ivory.
Posted by: Katelyn L. | October 24, 2014 at 2:18 PM
No, I don't want them to kill the elephants for ivory.
Posted by: Hannah S. | October 24, 2014 at 2:18 PM
I don't think the sale of an ivory should be legal. People could say that the ivory is antique and it really isn't. They are killing hundreds of innocent elephants. It is not fair to the people who worship elephants and it is not fair to kill them just for their tusks. It needs to stop. Now.
Posted by: Abby Z. | October 24, 2014 at 2:18 PM
I think they should ban selling antique ivory because it is still ivory, and i think if you can sell the old ivory why wouldn't you be able to sell the new ivory,so some people would continue to sell the new ivory including the old, some people would even claim that new ivory was antique ivory.
Posted by: Julia G. | November 11, 2014 at 3:22 PM
1. Because when they kill the elephants for the ivory, which is a lot of money. So the elephants start to become endangered. 2. Because, people will still do it just to get money. Plus on the black market it is a big sale. 3.I think that it is right because the elephants are dying, and they to me are pretty cool animals like they are so big and I wouldn't want them to be gone forever.
Posted by: joseph w. | December 15, 2014 at 3:04 PM
They shouldn't pass that law. I am completely and totally repulsed by the idea of people killing elephants because they want ivory from their tusks, but prohibiting the selling of antique ivory is pointless. The ivory is already out there, so its beauty should be admired and preserved in memory of the elephant who gave its life for it. It should remain as a reminder that beauty comes with a price.
Posted by: Cassie C. | March 5, 2015 at 4:20 PM
they should pass the law to stop the poaching because the elephants are endangered and should be kept on the earth
Posted by: izabel K. | March 20, 2015 at 1:43 PM

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