For the Love of Ivory

We used to call it slavery ... now we call it human trafficking. Slavery always went hand-in-hand with the collection of ivory. Picture of slaves captured in Zanzibar with another load of ivory for Pratt, Read, and Co. ships waiting in the harbor to take them both to the US. 

(Picture courtesy of the Deep River Historical Society).

Louis E. Pratt, master ivory cutter for Pratt, Read & Co. in Deep River, Connecticut. Taken April 1, 1955. 

(Picture courtesy of the Deep River Historical Society).

Today the US is #2 behind China in the trade of illegal wildlife trafficking, which includes ivory.

How did we get here? you ask. That is a very good question. It turns out that the United States has been in the trade of ivory for a very, very, long time.

Today populations of wild elephants in Kenya have plummeted due to illegal poaching and wildlife trafficking. With remaining populations critically endangered, the survival of wild elephants has never been more threatened.

But there is something we can do.


Never buy ivory and never sell it. Ever.



The Current Laws

The Endangered Species Act, (ESA), you would think would stop the illegal trade of ivory.

Ha! Think again ...

It turns out the ESA is only enforced at state or federal borders but will not intervene inside most states once ivory has already been brought in ... whether that ivory is legal or not.

Wait ... how can this be?

Now do you see the giant loophole unfolding before our very eyes? Many states don't have a border patrol and even those that do only ask if you are carrying "fruit" between states, not ivory.


This is why we (along with several other organizations) are working hard to pass laws banning the commercial trade of ivory state-by-state to create one more barrier (preferably loop-hole free) to those wanting to profit.

E.D. Moore resting atop a massive pile of tusks before both slaves and ivory

were loaded on to ships and taken to Connecticut.

Photo circa 1890-1910 

(Picture courtesy of the Deep River Historical Society).



KOTA helped Oregon become the sixth state to ban the sale of commercial ivory

There are only seven states in the United States that have banned the commercial sale of ivory.

Our goal is to help other states close the gap and ban it in their state.

In our upcoming YouTube project we will be laying out the fight to ban ivory state-by-state. This way, no matter where you live you can see what actions have already been taken, what’s worked and what failed, and most importantly, what you can do about it.


Until then, don’t buy ivory and never, ever sell it.

No matter what.