ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
The Wildlife Conservation Society estimates that 96 elephants are killed each day in Africa, translating into one elephant death every fifteen minutes and a 76 percent population decline since 2002. A September report issued by The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that as many as 60 percent of dead elephants in Africa were killed illegally, generating 154 metric tons of illegally-harvested ivory valued at more than $30 million dollars. The report also indicates that ivory poaching in recent years reflects the increased involvement of organized crime. As evidence, the report refers to the professional poaching gang that killed more than 200 elephants in Cameroon. In addition, Al Shabaab, a group which has been designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization and has been implicated in the recent attacks on a shopping mall in Kenya, is also mentioned in the report as being involved in ivory poaching.
The elephants are killed primarily for their ivory tusks which are used predominantly in carved art and jewelry. Ivory sales are regulated by a complex web of international, federal and state laws and treaties. In New York, ivory sales are regulated pursuant to Environmental Conservation Law §11-0535 which is based in part on the inclusion of elephants on the federal endangered species list in the 1970's.
Despite the existing legal protections, New York has become one of the leading destinations in the United States for illegal ivory. In 2012, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, in conjunction with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, seized more than $2 million worth of elephant ivory in New York City. The purpose of this hearing is to examine ways to improve the State's laws protecting endangered species and restricting the sale of illegal ivory.
Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation. Oral testimony will be limited to ten minutes duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible.
Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements. In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee's interest in hearing testimony from all sources.
In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.
Member of Assembly
Committee on Environmental Conservation