Wild Tomorrow Fund is very pleased to announce that today, the New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) released details of another successful ivory bust in Manhattan. The convicted store has been ordered by New York’s District Attorney to make a $50,000 donation to Wild Tomorrow Fund for wildlife conservation.  

Wild Tomorrow Fund will use this donation to fight the illegal wildlife trade on the frontlines of the poaching crisis in Southern Africa. In partnership with government and private reserves in both South Africa and Mozambique, we will be rolling out wildlife crime scene investigation training for rangers, dehorning critically endangered black rhinos and purchasing anti-poaching equipment for rangers in four reserves, amongst other projects planned using the funds this year. 

It is global demand for ivory that drives the slaughter of elephants. And the numbers are clear. According to The Great Elephant Census 144,000 elephants were killed across Africa in the past 7 years. The killing is happening now, and the primary cause of this devastating 30% loss of Africa’s last remaining elephants is poaching. 

Demand for elephant tusks translates into the cold white of ivory earrings, bracelets and carved figurines found in stores, galleries and street markets from Kinshasa to Hong Kong and Hanoi. Ivory’s trail also ends close to home, here on the streets of Manhattan. Landmark Gallery, just one block from central park on 58th street, plead guilty yesterday to illegally selling elephant ivory, a class D felony offence under New York State law. 

The investigation began in June 2015 when undercover officers from New York’s environmental crime squad at the Department of Environment and Conservation posed as buyers, purchasing suspected ivory pieces. These pieces were then tested by the American Museum of Natural History, whose specialist confirmed they were made of elephant ivory. A search warrant was then issued, with officers seizing 47 elephant ivory articles valued at more than $250,000. 

Prosecuting illegal wildlife crime is a global effort. We need rangers on the frontlines, defending wildlife. We need strong international law, with enforcement and seizures at global ports. We also need strong state laws, such as those implemented by New York State, followed up with investigative work,  enforcement and prosecution. This conviction was possible due to the tougher ivory laws recently enacted by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and New York State. Wild Tomorrow Fund highly commends the efforts of the Detectives at the DEC and the attorneys at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in fighting the illegal ivory trade in New York. 

We can’t wait to share more news on this story as we use this donation to roll out impactful projects on the frontlines of the fight against the illegal wildlife trade.