Oregonians vote to fight wildlife trafficking

Measure 100 — an Oregon initiative to ban the sale of products made from some of the world’s most imperiled animals — has passed overwhelmingly with 70 percent of the statewide vote.

Following the passage of similar laws in California and Washington, Oregon voters have effectively closed the west coast of the U.S. for trade in elephant ivory, rhino horn and other highly trafficked wildlife products.

“Oregonians can be proud of passing Measure 100, which gives our state a tool to protect wildlife worldwide,” said Dr. Don Moore, zoo director. “This initiative will make it harder for poachers and traffickers to find a safe haven in our state.”

The illegal wildlife trade is a global, multibillion-dollar industry involving the unlawful commerce in wild animals and plants. The trade exploits a wide range of species for a variety of uses. As a result, it now poses a threat to the survival of many imperiled species, from seaturtles to elephants.

Effective July 1, 2017, Measure 100 will ban intrastate sales of any product made from tigers, rhinos, elephants, lions, cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, pangolins, whales, marine turtles, sharks and rays.

The law will not prohibit ownership of ivory or other products made from the covered animals — only sales. Citizens can report suspected illegal sales by calling the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division hotline at 800-452-7888.

The zoo reminds wildlife advocates that there are other ways to help fight wildlife crime. Before purchasing, pet seekers can look up animals on the EcoHealthy Pets website, which ranks potential pets based on sustainability, among other criteria. Tourists may also unknowingly participate in the illegal wildlife trade when they purchase souvenirs or gifts abroad. Before traveling abroad, consult the USFWS traveler tips.

Measure 100 was supported by a broad coalition including the Oregon Zoo Foundation, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon Humane Society, Defenders of Wildlife, Audubon Society of Portland, Wildlife Conservation Society, Wild Aid, The Humane Society of the United States and others.

The Oregon Zoo had endorsed a similar bill that failed to pass in the 2015 Legislature.