We have a huge cheer because two Manhattan shop owners were nabbed for illegally selling and offering for sale more than $4.5 million in ivory.

Three years ago, New York tightened regulations meant to keep African elephants from going extinct. The new restrictions prohibit the sale of ivory except in limited circumstances, like the sale of antique musical instruments containing small amounts of ivory.

The recovered items from the store, Metropolitan Fine Arts and Antiques on West 57th St., was the largest seizure of illegal elephant ivory in New York State history. The tusks discovered at the shop will be destroyed in Central Park along with a ton of other illegal ivory items on Aug. 3 in Central Park as part of World Elephant Day.

We are hoping New York will do the right thing by elephants again and pass Cecil’s Law when the session reconvenes. This legislation, drafted by Friend of Animals, would ban the importation, possession, sale or transportation in New York of the African elephant, lion, leopard, and black and white rhinos or their body parts—all threatened and endangered species. New York is the busiest port of entry for selfish, well-heeled hunters to bring back their “trophies” to hang on their walls of shame.

Existing federal laws are not protective enough for elephants and these other magnificent animals. On July 6, 2016, a near-total ban on commercial trade in African elephant ivory went into effect in the United States. However this final rule still allows for two sport-hunted African elephant trophies to be imported into the United States per hunter per year.

We are urging all our New York members to call their state assembly members and state senators and tell them to sponsor and support S.B. 1883, Cecil’s Law. (Research shows that calling and speaking directly with legislators is most effective). To find an online directory of assembly members, click here. Then find your state senators here.