Ivory lust wanes in China, elephants rejoice
A mere 35 years ago some 1.2 million majestic elephants in Africa roamed the wide-ranging continent. With the inexplicable taste for ivory responsible for their demise, now fewer than 500,000 remain. Tanzania’s elephant population fell by 60 percent in five years; at this point Central African forest elephants could be extinct within 10.
While poaching has declined a bit as of late, some 20,000 African elephants are still slaughtered for their tusks each year, much in part to meet ivory demand from Asia, particularly China, notes Simon Denyer in The Washington Post.
“Reducing demand from China, the world’s biggest ivory market, is probably the single most important factor that could help end the widespread poaching of elephants in Africa,” writes Denver. And it looks like demand is not just being reduced, but plummeting.
The country is closing 67 ivory carving factories and retail shops this week, accounting for 30 percent of all, in preparation to stop all domestic ivory sales by the end of 2017.
And now a report has been released from the conservation group Save The Elephants, noting that the average wholesale price of tusks in China has fallen from $2,100 per kilogram in early 2014 to $730 this February. “The news is likely to foster hopes for an eventual end to the elephant poaching crisis in Africa,” writes Denver.
It’s easy to question the efficacy of government action given the strength of the black market, especially when it comes to illegal wildlife trade, but remarkably, the new direction seems to be taking hold here.
“These closures prove that China means business in closing down the ivory trade and helping the African elephant,” says Peter Knights, chief executive of WildAid, a non-profit that has been advocating against the ivory trade. Noting that the drop in price indicates that ivory has become “a very bad investment,” he expects further declines throughout the year.
Interestingly, the legal ivory trade in China – which relied on stockpiled goods collected before the global ban – has inadvertently worked to harbor a booming illegal trade that has fueled poaching. But with the government decision to end the trade, demand all around is dropping. The economic slowdown, an official anti-corruption campaign, and growing public awareness have all contributed to the wane as well, explains Knights.
Even before the ban has officially begun, confiscation of illegal ivory flooding into the country has dropped by 80 percent in 2016, and poaching has declined in Kenya, Knights says. Now if Hong Kong, Britain and Japan would only climb aboard the ivory ban bandwagon, the future of the planet’s beautiful regal elephants could become even more secure. But for now, China is a start – and big one at that.
Forest elephant populations in one of Central Africa’s largest sanctuaries have declined between 78% and 81% because of poaching, a new study finds. More than 25,000 elephants in Gabon’s Minkébé National Park may have been killed for their ivory between 2004 and 2014. With nearly half of Central Africa’s forest elephants thought to live in Gabon, the loss of elephants from the park is a considerable setback for the preservation of the species.
The National Rifle Association wants to continue killing off the last wild elephants on earth. These majestic, extremely intelligent animals are nearly gone from this world due to hunting and poaching for the ivory trade. Demand the NRA be denied the right to kill.
Originally published by MongaBay.com:
The Chinese government today announced it will close its domestic commercial ivory market by the end of 2017.
Conservationists are applauding the move, calling it a “game-changer” for elephants, which are being rapidly driven toward extinction due to ivory poaching.
Momentum has been building for such action. Earlier this year the United States enacted a law to close its ivory market and both the IUCN and member states at CITES COP17 passed resolutions to close domestic elephant ivory markets.
The Chinese government today announced it will close its domestic commercial ivory market by the end of 2017, a move conservation groups are calling a “game-changer” for elephants, which are being rapidly driven toward extinction due to ivory poaching.
“This is great news that will shut down the world’s largest market for elephant ivory,” said Aili Kang, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Asia Executive Director, in a statement. “[This] will help ensure that elephants have a fighting chance to beat extinction.”
“This is a game changer for Africa’s elephants.”
Carter Roberts, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), added: “The large-scale trade of ivory now faces its twilight years, and the future is brighter for wild elephants. With the US also ending its domestic ivory trade earlier this year, two of the largest ivory markets have taken action that will reverberate around the world.”
China’s General Office of the State Council on Friday laid out a timeline for implementing the ban. By March 31, 2017, commercial processing and sale of ivory will be stopped. By the end of 2017, all trade will be barred. The government will step up law enforcement with the intent of curbing smuggling and illegal sales of ivory. China will also launch a public education and outreach campaign to “raise ecological civilization awareness, to guide the public to refuse to buy any ivory and ivory products, and to develop a good social environment to protect elephants and other wildlife,” according to a statement from the government.
Momentum has been building for such action. Earlier this year the United States enacted a law to close its ivory market and both the IUCN and member states at CITES COP17 passed resolutions to close domestic elephant ivory markets. China and Hong Kong have also taken steps to regulate and reduce the elephant ivory trade, including China’s pledge in 2015 to eventually shutter its ivory market and Hong Kong’s statement last week that it would end the ivory trade by 2021.
The news comes as elephant populations are plunging across Africa. A recent survey conducted over two years by the Great Elephant Census found that Africa’s savanna elephant population declined by 144,000 since 2007, equivalent to an population decline of eight percent per year. An earlier study reported that African forest elephant populations declined by 60 percent in just a decade.
Category: Featured, Social Media News Tags: elephant, ivory, mongabay
Copyright © 2017 · All Rights Reserved · Global Justice Ecology Project
A popular theme park continues to host elephant rides. These elephants are rented from a notoriously cruel company that allegedly beats the animals with bullhooks and shocks them with electric prods. Urge the park to cut ties with this cruel company and end all elephant rides permanently.
Join The Movement, Support Elephant Refuge North America!
By Margot Ryan –
October 6, 2016
“This land is perfectly suited for Asian elephants; level to gently rolling hills covered in forest and pastures; many spring fed lakes; privacy from human activity; and a climate with mild winters which will allow elephants to remain outside nearly year round. Please help us raise the remaining funds required by November 8th to secure this 850-acre piece of elephant paradise!”
– Elephant Aid International
Video Credit: Elephant Aid International
Billy the Elephant has been isolated in the L.A. Zoo for over 25 years and is showing signs of severe stress and depression. Billy doesn’t get to interact with any other elephants and is trapped in a small enclosure. Demand that Billy be moved to a bigger sanctuary where he is allowed to roam free with other elephants.
Sep 22, 2016 — We updated you yesterday on Mohan’s newfound freedom as he was on the road to his new life at the Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura. Now he’s arrived — and your support helped us get him there immensely.
At this point we are officially closing the petition. If you would like to continue your support for Mohan — and he really needs it, suffering from a host of health issues based on decades of neglect and abuse — please see our donate page, here:
And if you want mobile updates on Mohan and all of our elephant rescues, please text WILD to 51555 on your phone.
Thank you again, Mohan supporters! Together we did it.
Your Signature Helped Free Mohan!
This petition made change with 214,167 supporters!
Sep 16, 2016 — Thank you so much to all of you who have shown your support for African elephants. We will be gathering all of the signatures to provide to the member countries of CITES on September 23, so we have one week left to get as many additional signatures as possible.
Please join us and share this petition with your family and friends asking them to sign and share it as well.
Almost 100 #elephants a day slaughtered for #ivory, sign & share to #SaveAfricanElephants http://chn.ge/2bRM3Th
5,000 Signatures and Still Growing!
Share this petition
1,964 needed to reach 15,000
Share on Facebook
CITES: Save African Elephants
Send an email to friends
Tweet to your followers
A popular travel company is promoting elephant rides despite all the atrocities that the animals face daily. These elephants are typically shackled for long periods of time and are prodded with bullhooks. We must stop the promotion of cruel elephant rides.
It has taken hundreds of years, but we’re finally starting to recognize that elephants do not thrive in captivity. We’ve witnessed the death of countless captive infants, watched these gentle giants sway back and forth in a mindless haze, and seen too many elephants euthanized due to foot conditions to be able to honestly think zoos have any beneficial value to these animals. Yet, despite this heartbreaking knowledge, facilities that profit from holding these animals, notably zoos and other attractions, refuse to put an end to displaying elephants. Rather, many are choosing to “improve” the conditions of elephants’ captivity. In the U.S., rules dictating that zoo elephants must have a companion have been made – but this hardly relieves the complete suffering of these animals.
In an effort to make life for visitors … err, we mean elephants … better, the Fuji Safari Park has built a 213-foot pool for their Asian elephants. Given the summer heat, the pool is a great relief for these animals. But there is one pretty HUGE problem with this “solution” … it is tailored more to improve the experience of paying customers more than the actual elephants.
The addition of the pool has been lauded as a great attraction for visitors. Thanks to the transparent walls, people can watch the elephant’s legs moving and see them use their trunks as a snorkel!
Wow … “natural” elephant behavior at its finest…
Sure this pool provides these elephants with a much-needed diversion … but it hardly improves the fact that after this animal gets out of the pool, they will return to standing on hard concrete, mindlessly, for hours.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, “The inspiration behind the glass swimming pool came from images of elephants in the ocean. The zoo wanted to show tourists that the animals can actually swim, something many were unaware of.” We don’t think there are enough facepalms to do that comment justice…
Aside from the blatant fact that this pool was built to draw in tourists – not really to, you know, keep the elephants from becoming too mentally or physically distraught, using the justification that they were inspired by elephants in the ocean is just ridiculous. Yes, elephants enjoy swimming in bodies of water, but you would be hard-pressed to find a wild elephant willingly venturing into the ocean. The salt water is harsh on their skin and eyes and being exposed to the sun without shade is extremely uncomfortable for them. The only case you would see an elephant swimming in the ocean is if that animal has been broken and trained to do so – hardly a behavior that should be replicated for “educational” purposes. It almost seems as if they couldn’t afford to keep captive orcas, so they just put their elephants in a pool to make up for it!
It seems that the highlights of the Fuji Safari Park doesn’t end with swimming elephants, but they also offer opportunities for visitors to “cuddle lion cubs” under the watchful eye of zookeepers. (We won’t get into what’s so wrong with this now, but if you’d like to learn more, click here.)
It is extremely clear that this added attraction is nothing more than that, a show for people, not a genuine addition to benefit of elephants. Asian elephants are in grave danger of extinction and if we continue to treat them as nothing more than props to make money from, they will disappear from the wild within the next 20 years. As consumers, it is up to us to see through these sham “animal welfare” scams and work to put an end to the cruelty. The easiest way to make this happen is to stop paying to see animals suffer. Share this article and encourage others to boycott this safari park and all other facilities that profit from captivity.
Animals belong in the wild, not tanks, cages, or enclosures decorated with fake trees. It’s time we stood up to #EmptyTheCages.