(CELEBRITY NEWS/WILDLIFE CONSERVATION) Great news for African elephants, animal advocates and Woody Harrelson.

When the Oscar-nominated actor wasn’t hunting down a sadistic serial killer in his HBO hit series True Detective, the Hawaii resident was urging lawmakers in his state to help stop another kind of murderer—elephant poachers. And it looks like they were listening.

Long time animal advocate Woody Harrelson fights to end ivory trade in his home state of Hawaii, the third largest ivory retailer in the country.
Long time animal advocate Woody Harrelson fights to end ivory trade in his home state of Hawaii, the third largest ivory retailer in the country. Of the more than 1,600 ivory items offered for sale in Hawaii, 89-percent were of unknown or likely illegal origin. Photo credit: pagesix.com

On Friday, the Hawaii Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee unanimously passed a bill to prohibit the sale of ivory from elephants and other wildlife as tens of thousands of African elephants are brutally massacred each year for their ivory tusks.

Harrelson teamed up with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Humane Society International (HSI) in a campaign to end the illicit and cruel ivory trade.

Hawaii is the third largest ivory retailer in the country, only behind New York and California—something the compassionate actor is hoping to change:

“The world is watching. It is within our power, and our responsibility, to end this cruelty by stopping the blood ivory trade. As a long time Hawaii resident I know how much the great Aloha state has to offer; contributing to the massacre of elephants for their ivory, shouldn’t be one of them.”

Tens of thousands Africa elephants are massacred every year because of ivory trade. Scientists estimate African elephants may be extinct in as few as 12 years if the current rate of poaching continues./Photo credit: www.south-african-lodges.com
African elephants are slaughtered at the rate of one in every 15 minutes because of the ivory trade. Scientists estimate these iconic creatures could be extinct in as few as 12 years if this current rate of poaching continues. Photo credit: www.south-african-lodges.com

Inga Gibson, Hawaii Senior State Director for HSUS-HSI, applauds the bill’s passage:

“We commend Senate Judiciary Chair Clayton Hee and his fellow Committee members for recognizing the critical role that Hawaii plays in ending the brutal ivory trade. Under this law, Hawaii is poised to be a global leader in elephant conservation. We urge his colleagues in the Senate, and subsequently in the House, to support this legislation.”

"The Hunger Games" star, Woody Harrelson teams up with The Humane Society of the United States to help pass legislation protecting African elephants from the blood ivory trade./Photo credit: film thrasher.com
“The Hunger Games” star, Woody Harrelson joins The Humane Society of the United States in helping to pass legislation protecting African elephants from the blood ivory trade. Photo credit: filmthrasher.com

The Hunger Games’ star believes ending the illegal ivory trade is a chance for Hawaii to set an example for other states and nations to follow:

“No one needs ivory except for elephants. Up to 100 African elephants are brutally killed each day for their tusks. These highly intelligent keystone species are facing the greatest threat to their survival in history.”

If the current rate of poaching continues, scientists predict African elephants may be extinct in as few as 12 years.

House Bill 493, Senate Draft 1, now awaits a hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

— Lisa Singer, exclusive to Global Animal

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