What is Initiative 1401?
Initiative 1401 is a Washington state voters’ initiative that will be on the November 3, 2015 ballot.
If passed, I-1401 will strengthen laws banning sales of endangered species products in Washington, significantly decreasing our state’s contribution to the unprecedented rate of animal poaching for body parts. Protected animals under this legislation include elephants, rhinos, tigers, lions, leopards, cheetahs, pangolins, marine turtles, sharks and rays. These animals are the most trafficked species threatened with extinction.
Poached animals are used for human consumption, ornamentation (rugs, trophies, etc.), trinkets and jewelry, and as part of other items such as furniture, weapons and clothing.
Woodland Park Zoo is proud to be a part of the I-1401 campaign and is excited for the opportunity to fight for one of our institution’s core values. Help us win big for endangered animals by voting YES on I-1401!
Is this initiative related to the zoo’s previous 96 Elephants campaign?
Yes! In early 2015, Woodland Park Zoo, with partner Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, drafted and testified for legislation to ban the sales of elephant ivory and rhino horn in Washington state. Unfortunately, the bill failed due to strong opposition. Since then, we’ve strengthened our resolve to fight for endangered animals.
In spring of 2015, Vulcan invited Woodland Park Zoo to come aboard the Initiative 1401 campaign. With Board endorsement, we enthusiastically joined the coalition, and are excited to work with Washington to do our part to save these magnificent animals from extinction.
Will this initiative really save animals?
Yes! If voters approve I-1401, Washington will join New York and New Jersey as states that have passed bans on ivory and rhino horn commerce. As each state comes aboard and outlaws the sales of endangered species parts, soon our country as a whole will be closed to the illegal animal trafficking trade.
But I-1401 takes it further than elephants and rhinos. Other animal groups listed in the initiative include tigers, lions, leopards, cheetahs, pangolins, marine turtles, sharks and rays. These are the most trafficked animals threatened with extinction.
This is Washington’s moment to be a global conservation leader. No other state has taken this legislation to the people. Let’s light the path for other states, Washington!
What is Woodland Park Zoo doing to save endangered wild animals?
Woodland Park Zoo’s animals serve as ambassadors for their wild counterparts, building our visitors’ understanding for the urgent need to protect those that are endangered.
Here at home, WPZ strives to educate zoo visitors about the rapid decline of endangered animals, but we also support action in range countries. We have invested more than $10 million in wild animal research and conservation action.
Woodland Park Zoo works with conservationists and researchers around the globe. We support strategies that include habitat and species conservation, research, education, local capacity building and community-based building. We have partners working in the field focusing on Asian and African elephants, Malayan tigers and snow leopards—all animals that would be protected from trafficking in Washington state if I-1401 passes.
Learn more about our three field conservation programs: Living Northwest, Partners for Wildlife and Wildlife Survival Fund.
Isn’t the federal ban on exporting and importing ivory good enough?
In February 2014, the Obama Administration took momentous steps to combat wildlife trafficking by enacting legislation that prohibits nearly all commercial imports, exports and domestic sales of ivory. Additionally, federal departments and agencies have undertaken the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, which provides guidelines to strengthen domestic and global enforcement of the law. We applaud these federal efforts.
Despite these efforts on the federal level, ivory trade laws are very complicated. In 1989, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) banned the international commercial trade in ivory. In the U.S., the import, export, interstate trade and commercial sale of ivory removed from the wild after the CITES ban (and in some cases even earlier) is illegal, with a few exceptions. In many cases, documented ivory predating the 1989 ban (called “pre-convention” ivory) can be traded. However, laws vary by state and by species.
These varying levels of legal domestic ivory trade in the U.S, provide a cover for ivory traffickers and make enforcement difficult, thus creating a thriving black market. I-1401 will close these loopholes in federal law, and will expand the list of animal groups to cover the ten most trafficked species.
What can Washington State do?
Tell Washington’s elected officials that you want to stop the ivory trade in your state. Sign the pledge to support a state moratorium on ivory sales.
Are there exceptions for antiques or transfers through estates in I-1401?
Yes, endangered animal products can be sold or traded with very limited exceptions, including:
- The covered animal species part is a part of a bona fide antique accompanied by documentation showing the piece to be at least 100 years old, and the animal part is less than 15 percent by volume of the entire antique;
- The piece is transferred to a legal beneficiary upon the death of the owner;
- The covered animal species part or product is less than 15 percent by volume of a musical instrument;
- The sale is authorized by federal law or permit;
- The piece is transferred for an educational or science purpose.
For more information, please review the legislation.
What can I do?
If you are a Washington voter, vote YES on I-1401 on November 3, 2015. Other actions you can take:
- Tell everyone you know to vote yes on I-1401. Use social media and your community networks to get the word out.
- Keep in touch with us by signing up for our conservation email. We’ll send you quarterly updates and ways to get involved to help us save endangered animals.
- Like Woodland Park Zoo on Facebook and follow our conservation efforts in real time.