Tag Archives: illegal ivory trade

Agencies curtail ivory smuggling (China)

China Daily
January 30, 2015
Officers from the State Forestry Administration and the General Administration of Customs destroy 6.1 tons of illegal ivory items in Dongguan, Guangdong province, in January last year. It was the first time China destroyed confiscated elephant ivory. Li Xin / Xinhua
China will continue its efforts to protect African elephants and curb the illegal ivory trade by cracking down on the black market.
“Combating the ivory trade and wildlife smuggling has always been a core task for China’s law enforcement agencies,” said Liu Dongsheng, deputy director of the State Forestry Administration, China’s wildlife watchdog. And they are making a difference, he said.
“The number of illegal wildlife smuggling cases in 2014 dropped 70 percent from 2013,” Liu said. Next, he said, “China will get tougher toward illicit tusks.”
At the same time, China has strengthened its supervision of Internet channels that are providing a fast, covert means of covering up illegal transactions.
According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, at least 18,590 animal-related items were for sale online in the country at the beginning of last year. Nearly 79 percent involved ivory.
The Forestry Administration has guided e-commerce platforms and logistics companies to cease providing the means for illegal trading in animal and plant products, including the means to advertise.
It also encouraged the public to decline, and also report, illegal ivory trade to the administration.
China has long been criticized as the world’s biggest importer of ivory and blamed as being responsible for most African elephant poaching.
A report released by the nonprofit organization Save the Elephants and The Aspinall Foundation in December said skyrocketing demand for ivory in China has led to a smuggling boom that is driving the unsustainable killing of elephants.
The report also said the growing legitimate ivory trade in China is providing a smoke screen for illegal activity. It said “the system is presently out of control”.
Meng Xianlin, executive director general of the Endangered Species Import and Export Management Office of China, said, “The truth is, the ivory market in China is shrinking, and China will gradually cut the number of licenses for retail outlets.
“The weight of authorized raw ivory in China every year is about 5 tons, but actually only 80 percent of that is made into ivory products,” he said. “And the sales numbers are dropping. The investigation found that the sales of illegal ivory products is way smaller than the legal sales.”
Meng also said consumption in China should not be blamed as being the major cause of the extinction of African elephants. Africa should step up to its own responsibility, he said.
John E. Scanlon, secretary-general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, agreed that it’s not just China’s responsibility. Other countries need to take responsibility for their own plants and animals and take measures to protect them, he said.
“We need support from source, transit and destination countries,” Scanlon said. “China has been dealing with it responsibly as a destination country, showing great leadership through customs and other enforcement departments.
“Source and transit countries should do the same, taking their responsibility seriously and doing what they can. We are in this together.”
Investors banking on continued increases in the price of ivory appear to be a significant factor in the recent boom, according to a report by Save the Elephants.
According to Gao Yufang, executive director of the Everest Snow Leopard Conservation Center, “Ivory products are perceived as a profitable investment alternative. An international ivory trade ban, inflation, depressed real estate and stock markets, growing disposable income, limited investment options and media hype have all contributed to this.”
CITES and China’s wildlife watchdog are planning to explore how the business sector can help to reduce demand.
“If speculation is, or appears likely to be, one of the key drivers of demand for illegally traded ivory, then intervention in this sector through a well-targeted campaign to end the speculation is warranted,” Scanlon said.

Elephants face extinction if Beijing does not ban ivory trade

Posted by Africa Geographic Editorial in News

Original source: Daily Mail

China needs to act now on the country’s illegal ivory trade to stop elephants becoming extinct, according to one conservationist.


China accounts for 40 per cent of the world’s trade in elephant tusks, with many bound for the country intercepted by customs officials in Hong Kong

Joyce Poole, co-director of Elephant Voices, said the creatures had experienced their worst year in history, with more than 7 per cent killed for their tusks in only a year.

She called for China to tackle the country’s appetite for ivory to save the remaining 400,000 elephants from extinction, and said the species would be extinct within a decade if poaching continued at the current rate.

Nearly 40,000 elephants are killed for their tusks every year, Poole told the South China Morning Post.

‘It’s either China does something, or we lose the elephants. It’s that big,’ she said.

‘If we can’t even save the elephants – such an iconic keystone animal, important to the African habitat – then what hope do we have?’

Ivory is known as ‘white gold’ in China, she said, and is symbol of wealth and status.

A worldwide ban on ivory was imposed in 1989, with two sanctioned sales of stock to China and Japan in 1999 and 2007.

Hong Kong customs officials have seized at least 16 tonnes of ivory worth HK$87million (more than £7million) bound for China in the past five years – which would require the tusks of 1,800 elephants, the paper reported.

About 93 per cent of elephant carcasses have been found to have been killed by poachers, said Poole, who has researched elephants for 40 years.

One elephant would earn an African poacher the same as a typical annual salary, she told the newspaper.

‘I think many people don’t know that you can’t get the tusks [for ivory] without killing the elephants,’ Poole said.

‘[Beijing is] still in denial that they have any part to play. Ivory isn’t worth much to the [Chinese] economy, but losing the elephants will make a huge difference to African countries.’ – Daily Mail

This article can be found in the following link: http://africageographic.com/blog/elephants-face-extinction-if-beijing-does-not-ban-ivory-trade/

Illegal Ivory Trade Found in Burma Town

Ivory and leopard skin on display for sale in Mong La, Burma. Credit: Chris Shepherd

Ivory and leopard skin on display for sale in Mong La, Burma. Credit: Chris Shepherd

Joe DeCapua

Last updated on: January 13, 2014 11:09 AM

An undercover team of conservationists has found thousands of pieces of pieces of ivory being sold openly in a town in Burma, also known as Myanmar. The town is on the border with China, where the demand for illegal animal products is high.

The undercover team included members from the conservation organization TRAFFIC and Oxford Brookes University. The team found 3,300 pieces of ivory – as well as 50 raw elephant tusks – in Mong La in Shan State in the northeastern part of the country.

Dr. Chris Shepherd, TRAFFIC’s Regional Director in Southeast Asia, said. “There’s a very large wildlife market full of all different endangered and threatened and illegal species – everything from elephants to tigers, birds, ungulates, all kinds of things. Ivory, we found a shocking amount of ivory — a lot more than we’ve seen in the past there. In the past we’ve seen small amounts, but we didn’t expect to find this much.”

Surveys in the past found a much different trade in animal products.

“That market has largely been species brought in for sale for meat and traditional medicine and some trophies, but not as much. It’s been a lot of deer brought in daily for meat, civets, smaller cats, otters, those sorts of things. And then trophies – some cat skins and antlers and horns of species,” he said.

Shepherd said that it’s difficult to tell how much of the illegal animal products in the town came from Africa.

“We did find products that were from Africa — hippo teeth, for example. So, it’s likely. And also the volume of the ivory. It would be terrifying if it was all from Asian elephants given the state of Asian elephants.”

TRAFFIC will report its findings to government officials in Burma and China. Both countries are members of CITES – the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

“There are tools to use to tackle this trade to ensure that it’s not crossing the border and that the markets are eventually shutdown, said Shepherd.

He added that China has been doing more than most countries to crackdown on the illegal ivory trade. However, he said more must be done to prevent a repeat of what was found in the Burmese border town.

For example, he said, “The need for reducing demand in China, for the ivory. We’ve got to kill the market, kill the demand. And I think that’s an incredibly important step. The other, though, is enforcement and that’s enforcement within China, enforcement within Myanmar, and cooperation between the two countries. And using CITES as a tool, really, to collaborate and to put this tool into action and shutdown these cross border markets.”

Last week, China publicly destroyed six tons of confiscated ivory in Guangdong.

The above  article can be found in the following link:  http://www.voanews.com/content/burma-ivory-13jan14/1828941.html



The original article in Chinese can be found in the following link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/politics/2014-01/06/c_118851657.htm


Journalists: Liu Yang Yang, Wang Xi, Han Qiao

On the 6th, the State Forestry Department and Customs Department held an event called: “Destruction of Confiscated Ivory In China”, where 6.1 tonnes of ivory were publicly crushed, making it the 1st time China  has publicly destroyed confiscated ivory. What is the significance of this activity? What improvements has China done when it comes to its fight against illegal ivory trade? Reporters interviewed Zhang Jian Long, the Deputy Director of State Forestry Administration


Question: For China to hold the “Destruction of Confiscated Ivory in China” event, what was its main consideration and what is the significance of this activity?


Answer: Protecting wildlife and taking care of the whole world has become a strong desire and common behavior for mankind, as it is related to the survival and development of human beings. However, due to various reasons, there exists an excessive and unsustainable practice worldwide of eating and smuggling wildlife, the phenomena operations of illegal wildlife products supply is serious, including smuggling of ivory trade among the endangered species which has become very rampant, which has threatened the survival of the African elephant and the sustainable development of other wild animals, resulting to having an impact on the global ecological security of significant risks.

In this regard, the world must take urgent action and make joint efforts so as to strengthen the protection of law enforcement in cracking down on illegal wildlife practices so as to fundamentally curb the illegal trade momentum.

China is a big responsible country and it attaches great importance and vigorously promotes wildlife conservation. This time, the State Forestry Administration and the Customs Department jointly held “Destruction of Confiscated Ivory In China” activity, publicly crushing 6.1 tonnes of ivory, which further goes ahead to demonstrate that the Chinese government firmly opposes and is cracking down on the illegal wildlife trade and is determined to raise public awareness to protect and strengthen the law enforcement agencies in the enforcement of law in duties at all levels, promote international coordination and cooperation of law enforcement, so as to protect wild animals together and seriously work on fighting the illegal trade of wildlife products as well as taking practical action to boost wildlife conservation globally. This activity to destroy ivory is of great importance to our country and the world of wildlife conservation as well, and will promote positive use

Question: What measures has China taken to combat illicit wildlife trade? How have the results been?

Answer: Combating illegal wildlife trade has always been the main agenda of China’s wildlife conservation work in which a variety of practical and effective measures have been taken. These measures are as follows:

  1. The Chinese law on illegal sale of ivory, purchase, transportation, smuggling of wild animal parts and products among other acts, made several severe punishment provisions; not only to confiscate the kind, illegal income, imposing of fines equivalent to 10 times the value of the product in possession of, but also punishable by up to life imprisonment.
  2.  China has established forestry, police, customs and other multi-sectoral composition of industrial and commercial wildlife conservation law enforcement systems and the inter-ministerial coordination system, and is constantly improving law enforcement tools so as to improve the quality of law enforcement officers and strengthen inspections in the markets, detection of cases and establishment of hotline reporting, timely analysis of the illegal wildlife trade dynamics, and conducting joint inspections and enforcement crackdowns.
  3. China has actively been promoting international cooperation in the illegal wildlife trade fight through pragmatic action, including: funding Southeast Asia, Africa and other countries to China to attend training relevant personnel to strengthen bilateral exchanges and law enforcement information exchange, and joint implementation of international co-led combat actions. In addition, China has also actively promoted and participated in CITES work and so on. Especially early last year in partnership with Asia, Africa and the Americas, 22 countries for the illegal wildlife trade activities across continents, China successfully carried out “Operation Cobra”, dispatched a large number of police, seized from smuggling cases and timely punishment of criminals who are arrested with a large number of endangered species and their products. The move led to the special recognition of CITES.
  4. China has long insisted on strengthening the conservation education. Arguments by experts, exposure to cases, special events, sending SMS and other forms, extensive public education to promote public awareness regarding conservation can be greatly improved.

Question: In the future, in what aspects will China improve its fight against illegal wildlife trade?

Answer: From the present situation, the excessive eating of wild animals and smuggling of wildlife products, illegal supply of wildlife products and other products is yet to be fundamentally curbed in China. In connection with the above description, the future will be handled through a series of measures to further increase crackdowns on the illegal wildlife trade.

On the one hand, we will further improve coordination between law enforcement mechanisms and strengthen comprehensive remediation. In effectively strengthening the distribution of wildlife rangers in the protected areas, while at the same time strengthening the restaurant, flower market and other business premise inspections and closely monitor by electronically tracking the sales network platforms of the wildlife products thus regulate the transporting of wildlife products and products. In the law enforcement inspection process, much focus had been put on tiger, leopard, elephant, rhino and other rare and endangered species and major cases of organized crime. Poaching of wild animals and their products on the illicit trade area or the more serious aspects, timely crackdown on the organizations, the momentum will firmly curb the rampant criminal activities.

On the other hand, improving the laws, regulations and management system, establishing long-term mechanisms to combat illegal wildlife trade. Strengthening conservation law enforcement responsibility and law enforcement agencies to promote the protection and management team building, improve the overall level of wildlife protection and law enforcement supervision, standardize the management of wild animal domestication, breeding and management and utilization activities, and maintain high pressure on the ivory smuggling and other illegal and criminal activities a situation.

At the same time, we will continue to strengthen the conservation education and public education through a variety of channels, in various forms, to encourage the public to consciously desist from buying wild animals and products and form a good prevention and treatment system.

Translated by Chris Kiarie

KWS accuses the rich of poaching (Kenya)


September 6, 2013
Kenya Wildlife Services has linked influential business people to the illegal ivory trade in the country.

KWS spokesperson Paul Mbugua told the Star during an interview that the recent seizure of 3.3 tonnes of illegal ivory in Mombasa shows the trade involves wealthy people.

“Through our intelligence officers, we have managed to unravel a network of people involved in the illegal ivory trade in the country,” Mbugua said.

He said most of smuggled ivories are seized at the port and no one turns up to claim them. “We cannot reveal the names of those involved in this illegal business,” Mbugua said.

He said ivory and horns from elephant’s and rhinos are shipped out using illegal routes along the porous Kenyan border. “The ivory consignments we have intercepted at our airports and the Mombasa port are usually on transit,” he said.

Mbugua said most border points across the country are porous and boda bodas are used to ferry smuggled goods. Mbugua defended Chinese working in construction companies in the country against claims that they have promoted poaching.

He said most poachers are Kenyans. “No foreigner has so far been arrested,” he said. Kenya has lost 214 elephant’s and 36 rhinos to poachers this year.

Kenya Wildlife Services has linked big influential business people from Western African countries to the Illegal ivory trade in the country.

KWS spokesperson Paul Mbugua revealed to the Star during an interview that preliminary investigation have revealed a network of business people from West African Countries involved in the illegal trade.

Mbugua cited the recent seizure of 3.3 tonnes of illegal ivory at Mombasa as an indication that the trade involves big moneyed people.

“Through our intelligence officers we have managed to unravel a network of people involved in the illegal ivory trade in the country. Some are foreigners from West African Countries who do business in the country,” said Mbugua adding that most of the seizures made at the port, the owners have never went back to claim their goods which area worth billions of shillings thus concluding that those involved in the business are stinking rich people.

When asked whether Kenyan Politicians are involved in the illegal trade, Mbugua said that those involved in the trade are rich people and soon they will zero on them.

“We cannot reveal the names of those involved in this illegal business at this time. However, we have managed to unravel the mystery of those involved in the illegal trade,” he said.

The KWS Spokesperson said that ivory and horns from elephant’s and Rhinos poached across the country are shipped out using illegal routes along the porous Kenyan border points without necessarily using airports and the Mombasa port.

“The ivory consignments we have intercepted at our airports and the Mombasa port are usually on transit. This shows that the elephants tusks and Rhino horns poached in the country are ferried using illegal routes along the porous border points,” he said.

Mbugua pointed out that most border points across the country are porous adding that bodaboda taxis are the most notorious for ferrying illegal goods.

“Our border points are very porous. Bodaboda taxis are notorious for ferrying illegal goods including wildlife products outside the country,” he said.

Mbugua distanced Chinese citizens working in construction companies in the country against the escalating elephant and Rhino poaching in the country.

“We have arrested 10 Chinese citizens in the country involved in contraband ivory and all of them were on transit. We have also nabbed seven Vietnamese, one American, one Tanzanian and one American but were all on transit,” he said.

Mbugua said that those involved in poaching are mostly local citizens. “Those people we have arrested involved in poaching are mostly local citizens. No foreigners have so far been arrested,” he said.

So far, Kenya has lost 214 elephant’s and 36 rhinos to poaching this year.