Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR1149
Illinois General Assembly

Previous General Assemblies

Full Text of HR1149  98th General Assembly




HR1149LRB098 21521 GRL 60090 r


2    WHEREAS, Approximately 35,000 wild African elephants were
3brutally slaughtered in 2012 because of the demand for their
4tusks, which contain ivory; and
5    WHEREAS, The United States is the world's second largest
6market for ivory; and
7    WHEREAS, Illegal ivory is smuggled into the United States
8through a number of international airports, which include
9Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, on a routine basis; and
10    WHEREAS, The wild African elephant population has declined
11from 1.2 million in 1980 to just 420,000 in 2012 and Central
12Africa's forest elephant populations have declined by 75% in
13the last decade due to illegal poaching for ivory; and
14    WHEREAS, Elephant ivory currently sells for about $3,000
15per kilogram, representing a value of $20,000 per elephant; and
16    WHEREAS, With an estimated value between $10 billion and
17$20 billion per year, the illegal wildlife trade is a major
18trans-national crime run by professional criminal networks and
19is strongly linked to other trans-national organized criminal
20activities, such as narcotics, weapons, and human-trafficking;



HR1149- 2 -LRB098 21521 GRL 60090 r

2    WHEREAS, There is significant evidence that illegal trade
3in high-value wildlife parts, including elephant ivory, is
4being used as a source for financing terrorist organizations
5and armed groups that including the Lord's Resistance Army,
6al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda, and Sudanese militias; and
7    WHEREAS, The State Department of the United States has
8provided that criminal organizations' involvement in wildlife
9trafficking perpetuates corruption, threatens the rule of law
10and border security in fragile regions, and destabilizes
11communities that depend on wildlife for biodiversity and
12eco-tourism; and
13    WHEREAS, In 1989, the Convention on the International Trade
14in Endangered Species (CITES) banned the international
15commercial trade in ivory; in the United States, the import,
16export, interstate trade, and commercial sale of ivory removed
17from the wild after the ban (and in some cases even earlier) is
18illegal, with a few exceptions; and
19    WHEREAS, In many cases, documented ivory predating the 1989
20ban (called "preconvention" ivory) can be traded; however, laws
21vary by state and by species; and



HR1149- 3 -LRB098 21521 GRL 60090 r

1    WHEREAS, A major challenge to effective enforcement is that
2parallel legal ivory markets serve as a cover for illegal ivory
3from recently killed elephants, as it is extremely difficult to
4distinguish between legal ivory, including antiques and
5illegal ivory, once it is within our borders; in addition,
6counterfeit ivory certifications have flooded the market,
7making parallel legal ivory markets a contributing factor to
8elephant poaching across Africa; and
9    WHEREAS, With limited enforcement, minimum penalties, and
10elaborate forgery schemes, traffickers are able to get illegal
11ivory into the United States market; and
12    WHEREAS, As long as demand for ivory remains high and
13enforcement effort is low, the legal trade will continue to
14serve as a front and criminal syndicates will continue to drive
15elephant poaching across Africa, which will lead to the
16extinction of wild elephants in Africa; and
17    WHEREAS, The United States is the world's second largest
18importer and market after China for ivory sales; because
19current laws allow for the legal trade in certain ivory
20products and include broad loopholes and exemptions, there is
21significant illegal trade in ivory in the United States; and
22    WHEREAS, As the United States reaches out to China, the



HR1149- 4 -LRB098 21521 GRL 60090 r

1world's largest ivory consumer nation, and other countries to
2crack down on the illegal ivory trade, it is important for the
3United States and for the State of Illinois to stop the trade
4within our own borders and lead by example; and
5    WHEREAS, States have an opportunity to lead the way during
6this critical time for Africa's elephants by establishing
7moratoria on the sale of all elephant ivory and ivory products;
9    WHEREAS, States can eliminate the significant enforcement
10challenge posed by the legal ivory trade, raise consumer
11awareness, reduce poaching pressures on elephants, and set a
12critical example for other state and federal lawmakers as well
13as other countries; and
14    WHEREAS, Brookfield Zoo, managed by the Chicago Zoological
15Society, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and Shedd Aquarium are
16accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, operate
17significant wildlife conservation programs locally and around
18the world, and are the most visited cultural destinations in
19Illinois; and
20    WHEREAS, Chicago Zoological Society, Lincoln Park Zoo, and
21Shedd Aquarium are partnering with the Wildlife Conservation
22Society, an international conservation organization that has



HR1149- 5 -LRB098 21521 GRL 60090 r

1launched "96 Elephants", a campaign named for the number of
2elephants killed each day in 2012 by poachers, to raise
3awareness about the alarming rate at which wild African
4elephants are being poached because of the demand for ivory and
5to generate action in support of elephants and raise consumer
6awareness to encourage state and federal lawmakers to eliminate
7the significant enforcement challenge posed by the legal ivory
8trade; therefore, be it
11we recognize the work of Brookfield Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, and
12Shedd Aquarium to raise awareness about the importance of
13enacting a moratoria on all ivory sales in the State of
14Illinois; and be it further
15    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
16delivered to Dr. Stuart Strahl, President and CEO of the
17Chicago Zoological Society and Director of the Brookfield Zoo;
18Kevin Bell, President and CEO of Lincoln Park Zoo; and Ted A.
19Beattie, President and CEO of Shedd Aquarium in recognition of
20their support of a United States moratorium on illegal ivory,
21bolstering protection of African elephants, and educating the
22public about the link between ivory consumption, international
23terrorist organizations, and the elephant poaching crisis.