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New California Law Bans Selling Most Ivory Products

Matthias Rosenkranz / Flickr
 

Matthias Rosenkranz / Flickr

A new law went into effect July 1 that makes it illegal to sell almost any product that contains ivory or rhinoceros horn.

A 1977 California law was supposed to severely restrict the elephant ivory trade. But, loopholes allowed the sale of ivory using other animals' tusks.

The new law includes walrus, mammoth, hippopotamus, warthog, and whale ivory.

Lieutenant Chris Stoots is with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. He says the state won't have to rely on federal officers as much to enforce ivory laws.

"It gives us an edge as California officers and strengthening of a partnership with the feds on combating these issues," says Stoots.

State penalties can reach $50,000 or twice the value of the illegal item and a year in jail.

Exceptions to the rule include documented heirlooms that contain no more than five percent ivory, musical instruments that contain no more than 20 percent, and sales to educational or scientific institutions.

According to the state, about 100 tons of ivory has been confiscated worldwide in the past three years.