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Obama reveals ivory sale restrictions

Legislation will be proposed to prohibit the sale of ivory across state lines.

By Ed Adamczyk
Obama reveals ivory sale restrictions
President Barack Obama makes his way from the residence to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on July 23, 2015 in Washington, D.C. as he departs for a trip to Ethiopia and Kenya. Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI | License Photo

NAIROBI , Kenya, July 27 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama said in Kenya a new set of restrictions on U.S. ivory sales is being prepared.

"I can announce that we're proposing a new rule that bans the sale of virtually all ivory across state lines," he said Saturday during a joint press conference with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi. Despite existing regulations banning the importation of ivory, the United States remains the world's number two market, behind China.

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The new rules, widely expected and strengthening a 2013 executive order restricting ivory sales which came after Obama's previous visit to Africa, prohibit the sale across state lines of ivory from African elephants. They offer limited exemptions to certain items, including pre-existing musical instruments, furniture and firearms with less than 200 grams of decorative ivory. The regulations must first pass the U.S. Congress.

"We want to ensure our nation is not contributing to the scourge of poaching that is decimating elephant populations across Africa," said Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Africa's elephant population has declined by an estimated 100,000 between 2010 and 2012 as elephants continue to be killed for their ivory.

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