SAN FRANCISCO - International conservation organization WildAid congratulates the Council of the City of New York for being the first U.S. municipality to approve a law making it illegal to buy or sell products containing, or advertised as containing, endangered species.|
The law, signed today by Mayor Bloomberg, will enable New York City enforcement authorities to take action against those consumers and merchants in violation of the new legislation.
WildAid and other organizations fear that, prior to this legislation, illegal wildlife products were widely available. A recent WildAid Survey on traditional medicines, conducted in New York City in May 2004 among of 37 pharmacies and 3 liquor shops, revealed:
- 87% of pharmacies carried at least one kind of product claiming to contain tiger bone
- 73% of pharmacies carried at least one kind of bear product
- 37% of pharmacies carried at least one kind of sea lion product
- Ivory and illegally imported caviar are also widely available in New York
"The illegal wildlife trade, now estimated by Interpol to be worth $10 to 20 billion a year, has drastically reduced numerous wildlife populations and currently has some teetering on the brink of extinction including Tigers, Rhinos, Asian Elephants and Asian Bears. Enforcement and consumer education are the key to reducing consumer demand and the New York Endangered Species Bill will help on both fronts. We hope other cities across the United States will follow New York's lead and approve similar legislation," says Peter Knights, Executive Director of WildAid.
Founded as a nonprofit wildlife conservation organization in 1999, WildAid's mission is to stamp out the illegal wildlife trade in endangered species within our lifetimes. WildAid channels 100% of donations from the public into award-winning programs designed to protect the wild on land and at sea, stop the illegal trade, raise awareness and reduce consumer demand.