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Obama proposes crackdown on elephant ivory sales

Obama proposes crackdown on elephant ivory sales
© Getty Images

President Obama announced Saturday he is proposing a new ban on the sale of “virtually all ivory across state lines.”

In his first visit to Kenya as president, Obama told reporters he is planning to crack down on ivory trafficking to protect the country’s wildlife from poachers.  

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The proposed rule would ban the sale of ivory from African elephants, which have long been targeted by poachers for the U.S. and Asian markets.

There will be some exemptions, as with previous U.S. rules on ivory. Antique items like musical instruments, furniture pieces and firearms that have small amounts of ivory can continue to be sold.

The U.S. remains the second-largest market for ivory, behind China, despite existing regulations.

Obama issued his last executive order to restrict ivory sales in 2013, coinciding with a previous trip to Africa.

"Given the unparalleled and escalating threats to African elephants, we believe a near-complete ban on commercial trade in elephant ivory is the best way to ensure U.S. domestic markets do not contribute to the decline of this species in the wild," the administration wrote in a statement then.