Global momentum to shut down ivory markets provides reason to celebrate on World Elephant Day
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Aug. 11, 2017 : On Saturday millions of animal lovers around the world will be raising a cheer for nature's biggest land animal, the elephant."On this World Elephant Day we are celebrating the global momentum to shut down all ivory markets. Awareness and action are definitely leading to change. That said, we need to keep the pressure on and close the door for good to stop the killing and stop the trade. Ivory trade anywhere threatens elephants everywhere," said Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
At a time when it is estimated that at least 20,000 elephants a year are poached for their ivory, IFAW is advocating for a complete ban on international ivory trade, the closure of domestic ivory markets wherever they occur and the destruction of ivory stockpiles.
Just this week, eBay declared they are advocating for laws to combat illegal wildlife trafficking in partnership with IFAW. Other recent positive developments include the announcement by China to close down its commercial ivory markets by the end of 2017; the US finalizing its near-total ivory ban in 2016; calls by Australia and the European Union for a ban on ivory sales; the UK Big Ivory Surrender and the destruction by many countries - most recently the US - of stockpiles of confiscated ivory.
Gabriel said that rampant ivory trade in the past ten years had heightened fear for the survival of elephants, with more than 100,000 elephants poached for the illegal trade between 2010 and 2012; at least 13 seizures of consignments of smuggled ivory weighing more than 800 kg each in 2011; and the disappearance due to poaching of 62 per cent of the population of forest elephants.
"To end the poaching of elephants, we have to smash every link on the trade chain, from market supply to consumer demand," Gabriel added.
IFAW works with international organizations such as INTERPOL and national law enforcement bodies to combat wildlife and environmental crime. In collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), IFAW started a pilot project in Kenya called tenBoma, which uses the newest data technology to enable rangers and enforcers to stop poachers before they kill. In consumer countries like China, IFAW is raising awareness to stop people from buying wildlife products and conducting trainings to equip enforcers with the necessary expertise to detect illegal wildlife products.