China’s Illegal Ivory Trade Escalating Out of Control

Photograph by Lucy Vigne
Plain, polished ivory tusks are growing in popularity in China.

The illegal ivory trade is exploding in China, overwhelming efforts to enforce the law, according to the results of the first detailed research on the markets of Beijing and Shanghai since 2002, published today by Save the Elephants and The Aspinall Foundation.

Skyrocketing demand for ivory in China – the wholesale price of raw elephant tusks has tripled in just four years since 2010 – have sparked a booming trade in smuggled ivory that is driving the unsustainable killing of elephants in Africa, say the authors, seasoned ivory market researchers Lucy Vigne and Esmond Martin.

They visited 8 ivory-carving factories and found 275 retail outlets selling ivory in Beijing and Shanghai, surveying prices, types and overall numbers of artefacts on sale and compared the results with what they had found on previous surveys in 2002.

“Every metric on the ivory trade has exploded upwards in recent years. The prices of raw and worked ivory in China, number of licensed carving factories, retail outlets both illegal and legal, items on sale, all have shot up. Meanwhile the weight of ivory seized and number of elephants being killed in Africa have also increased,” say the —> Read More Here


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