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US bans commercial ivory trade

Published on Feb 12, 2014 6:07 AM
Elephant ivory is pictured in this undated handout photo courtesy of the United States Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States (US) banned the commercial trade of elephant ivory on Tuesday as part of a new drive to help African countries stem the rising threat to wildlife from poachers.

The White House administrative action prohibits all commercial imports of African elephant ivory, including antiques, and all exports, - except for bona fide antiques and certain other items.

The outlawed ivory trade is mostly fuelled by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used in traditional medicine and to make ornaments.

Poaching has risen sharply in Africa in recent years. Besides targeting rhinos, gangs have massacred whole herds of elephants for their tusks.

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