Friday, March 13, 2009

Ivory Trade Endangering Lao, Southeast Asian Elephants

This pisses me off:

There are approximately 1,000 elephants still alive in Laos, compared to 150 in Vietnam. But in Vietnam, ivory prices are surging according to TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network. Tusks sell as high as $1500/kg and smaller pieces for $1,863/kg.

Continued demand for illegal ivory is behind this. Raw ivory, according to TRAFFIC is being sourced from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, with a brisk smuggling trade of live elephants from Myanmar/Burma.  

Because a loophole allows ivory 'made' before the 1992 to still be sold, unscrupulous traders and merchants circumvent the intention of the law and keep their current stock secretly replenished with newly cut ivory.

TRAFFIC cites the Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Vietnamese living in America and Europeans as the biggest buyers of ivory, especially through the internet.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was established in part to reign in and eradicate this trade. TRAFFIC encourages increased monitoring, enforcement and prosecution and suggest ivory for sale in retail outlets should be confiscated by governments and destroyed.

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