End Elephant Ivory Trade

Every day, around 100 elephants are killed: their population has shrunk dramatically by about 2/3 in recent years.

Despite prohibitions and restrictions on domestic ivory trade introduced in recent years in large ivory markets like China, Taiwan and the United States, the extermination of elephants hasn’t stopped.

Today, there are left only around 400,000 elephants in Africa (Loxodonta Africana and Loxodonta cyclotis) and around 40,000 in Asia (Elephas maximus).

This is just a fraction of the 12 million elephants that were living on Earth just a century ago!

CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) banned international commercial trade in Asian and African elephant ivory, respectively, in 1975 and in 1989 by placing these species on the Appendix I.

Nevertheless, because of the pressure coming from various countries and commercial organizations, CITES made the great mistake of inappropriately authorizing, despite the ban, the export of 49 metric tons of ivory from Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe to Japan and China in 1999 and 2008. This encouraged poaching due to the difficulty of ascertaining the origin of the ivory.

Elephants are now being killed illegally despite existing international bans due to:

  • Continuing strong ivory demand in the world, pushed by the ignorance of people who don’t know that elephants are disappearing and that the ivory is likely coming from trade organized by criminal organizations, as this is a highly lucrative business;
  • The CITES ban concerns international trade only; however, as many countries have kept their internal ivory trade legal, it is difficult to ascertain where the ivory is coming from and whether it was imported into the country before the international ban;
  • Villages close to China in countries like Myanmar where there is no ban on domestic ivory trade have seen in recent year an exponential increase in ivory trade. It is likely that many ivory objects are being illegally brought from such places into China.
  • Elephants are systematically killed by farmers to defend the farmers’ crops. This is shrinking the elephants’ habitats and exacerbating the problem. Due to frequent drought, the elephants are then forced to move in search of food. The growth of the human population and the concomitant reduction of the natural habitat of elephants to allocate land for plantations represents a huge risk for the elephants’ survival. In some countries, elephants are killed in retaliation for plantation damage or poisoned to protect palm oil plantations.
  • Elephants are also killed as trophies: the sale of hunting rights by some African countries is justified by using the proceeds to support the development of local populations. Instead, the money often ends up in the hands of corrupt local officials and politicians without benefitting the local populations. Botswana has recently announced that, after a years-long ban, it has auctioned licenses to kill 70 elephants, allowing wealthy Europeans and Americans to kill and export their macabre trophies.

What OnlyAnimals is doing:

OnlyAnimals is campaigning and fighting in order that:

  • The hunting of elephants will be prohibited everywhere and economic aid to poor countries from the international community will be blocked if such practices are allowed to continue;
  • Domestic trade in ivory will be prohibited in every country of the world;
  • Efforts to combat illegal ivory trafficking will be increased by urging the local authorities and politicians to understand that elephants are a wealth of the African and Asian countries and that tourists will be enticed to come watch them free in their natural habitat;
  • People in wealthy and emerging countries will understand that it is difficult to date an ivory object and that buying these objects encourages poachers to kill elephants;
  • The destruction of the natural habitat of elephants will be stopped and agriculture become sustainable;
  • If the restrictions on domestic ivory trade do not result in a drastic reduction in the number of elephants killed by poachers every year, then a prohibition will be established around the world not only on domestic trade but also on the keeping of ivory objects in private homes or the wearing of them for personal use. This prohibition will apply to all ivory independent of its age in order to avoid the risk of falsification of certificates. Such a prohibition would drastically lower the price of ivory, making illegal ivory trade no longer economically advantageous and the buying of ivory too risky even for criminals.

Help OnlyAnimals fight for elephants before it is too late.

References:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/aug/12/elephants-on-the-path-to-extinction-the-facts

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