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NY Lawmakers Seek Ban On Ivory Sales That ‘Support Organized Crime And Terrorism’

A sample of the six tons of ivory confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildfire Service, as seen in Colorado, Nov. 14, 2013 (credit: by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

A sample of the six tons of ivory confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildfire Service, as seen in Colorado, Nov. 14, 2013 (credit: by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Lawmakers in New York are working to restrict the sale of ivory from elephants.

As WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb reported, the push is aimed at targeting terrorists.

New York State Assemblyman Bob Sweeney said the African forest elephant may become extinct in the next decade.

“They’re being killed at the rate of 96 elephants every single day,” Sweeney told reporters including Lamb. “As a result of poaching by terrorist organizations that are now using the funds from the sale of illegal ivory to fund their terrorist operation.”

The Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation held a hearing on the issue Thursday.

“You even have poisoning of large herds of elephants with poisoned watermelons or poisoned waterholes,” said William Woody of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Wildlife officials said the poaching is a local issue.

“New York is one of the hubs for ivory sales in the United States. It is the largest,” John Calvelli of the Wildlife Conservation Society said. “Literally blocks from where we are standing right now, you will find ivory for sale.”

Calvelli added New Yorkers are “unwittingly helping to support organized crime and terrorism by the purchase of a piece of ivory. New Yorkers can make a difference by saying no.”

The wildlife society called for a nationwide ban on domestic ivory sales to stop the slaughter of the elephants and to choke off funding to the terrorists who are killing them.

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