Monday, September 19, 2011

China's Demand in Ivory Revives Illegal Trade

An African bush elephant

The months of July and August had witnessed some of the biggest seizures of illegal ivory destined for China. These confiscations occurred in three separate nations: Tanzania, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. During these seizures, a total of nearly 3,600 tusks from an estimated 1,800 elephants were confiscated. However, despite the affirmative and swift action taken, China still refused to back down with growing demand from ivory from newly prosperous consumers. According to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a London-based non-governmental organization, ivory prices in China have increased to as high as $7,000 per kilogram in 2011 from $157 per kilo in 2008. Other researchers and NGOs estimated the prices to be as low as $300 to $750 per kilo, but that has gone up by 100 % over three years. A report released by the Center for the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) indicated that more than 6,500 kilograms of ivory was seized in China and Hong Kong from 2009 to June 2011. This has made China the world's largest consumer of market for illegal ivory after Japan.

A news report like this just disgusts me to hear about the lives of elephants lost in this ongoing bloodshed fueled by greed and a lust for power. In China, ivory is perceived as a traditional symbol of wealth and power. This is why the growing demand for ivory has been increasing with extremely tragic results since the late 1970s. During that time period, numbers of elephants had plunged from 1.2 million animals to between 472,000 and 690,000 in present day. And it is still brewing with simply no regard to life. I feel that the world should wake up, and realize how this carnage is continuing to exploit our planet of its natural treasures and take action to prevent it from further extending its tentacles. Several consumers who buy ivory either do not realize or do not care about the horrors of the procedure to produce such elaborate works of arts. This, to me personally, is the main reason the demand for ivory continues to grow. And it is the reason why further action is crucial to keep the fight against illegal ivory going.

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