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China could face sanctions for ivory trade inaction

Illicit activity by so-called "gang of eight" is threatening elephant population, says wildlife experts

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The illegal ivory trade has doubled in the last decade. (Image by Rennett Stowe via Flickr)

Delegates from 178 countries are meeting in Thailand this week to discuss the international treaty on trade in endangered wildlife, and the news out of Bangkok isn’t good.

The illegal ivory trade has doubled worldwide over the last decade. In central Africa, there are only 100,000 remaining forest elephants – a smaller species than their more-populous savannah cousins, but one whose longer, straighter tusks make them more desirable to poachers.

With these facts at hand, officials at CITES – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species – have come out harshly against China and seven other nations long identified as linchpins in the illicit global trade.

The members of the so-called “gang of eight” play key roles in the underground market, either as sources of ivory (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda), as smuggling routes (Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines) or as the main ivory markets (China, Thailand). And for all the promises to crack down on poachers in the decades since the convention’s inception, the trade is more vicious than ever before.

Read also: China criticised over tiger farms and illegal ivory trade

"There has been no discernible impact from previous Cites measures," said Tom Milliken, the top CITES official on ivory. Without serious action in the next year, officials said, those eight countries could be banned from trade in all wildlife, including legal and highly remunerative species like orchids.

Elephants aren’t the only species that could be hunted out of existence. Despite a global ban on trade in rhino horn – long believed, erroneously, to have medicinal properties – the world’s rhino population remains under siege by poachers.

A new paper in Science proposes a controversial solution: a legal trade in which live rhinos could be anesthetised and their horns shaved, in order to feed the market without having to kill the animals.

Lead author Duan Biggs of the University of Queensland argues that the ban on rhino horn is driving up prices and inflating demand. A kilogramme of horn cost $4,700 in 1993. Last year, a kilo went for $65,000.

"Essentially what is being created is a pseudo war with people some from the local communities who are involved in poaching," Biggs told the Guardian.

Pseudo war or not, legalising the trade is not on the CITES agenda. 

"We don't think it would stop the poaching crisis, we think the legal trade could make it worse," said Dr Colman O'Criodain, a wildlife trade policy analyst with WWF, to the Guardian.

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匿名 | Anonymous

The Chinese people will decide the fate of the elephants.

CITES did not ban ivory trade; they only are considering sanctions. They make no effort to educate - rhino horn is simply keratin, and has NO medicinal value whatsoever, for instance. These animals are being slaughtered for no reason at all other than ignorance. Elephant ivory is harvested by means of killing the elephant outright and then cutting the front of its face off. Ivory cannot be obtained any other way. Chad just suffered the worst loss this year - 86 elephants slaughtered. Four families, 33 pregnant females, tiny babies shot as their mothers tried desperately to protect them. The carnage is beyond belief. The poachers sell ivory to China, and receive money to buy arms to continue their violent illegal activities in Africa. Buying ivory is supporting and feeding the WORST of humanity. The elephant, our largest land mammal which has survived for millenia, will be gone from the earth in a few years, unless the Chinese people decide to speak with their dollars, and refuse to buy ivory. The elephants' fate rests with them.



Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous



Linda Reid 英国

Stop the trade in ivory

 China needs to wake up and see what is happening to elephant populations in Africa. They are being decimated and all because there is in existence an ivory trade and ivory carving industry. When the buying stops the killing can too

Linda Reid United Kingdom