Tag Archives: illicit ivory

Kenya: State Asked to Tighten Laws Against Poaching

By Dominic Wabala, The Star

5 September 2013

Poachers earned US$ 30 million(Sh2.6 billion) from 154 tonnes of ivory in 2011. A United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report on organised crime said between 5,600 and 15,400 elephants are poached in Eastern Africa annually.

A total of 15,400 elephants were killed in East Africa alone. The report titled ‘Transnational Organised Crime in East Africa: A Threat Assessment,’ was released yesterday. It further indicated that most ivory shipments from Africa to Asia pass through Dar es Salaam and Mombasa ports.

Estimates put the current elephant population in East Africa at 140,000 which is about one third of the continents population. Most of these are in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan.

That represents between 4 per cent and 11 per cent of the elephant population killed in East Africa and sold at about USD850 (Sh73,950) per kilogramme.

“It is estimated that between 5,600 and 15,400 elephants are poached in Eastern Africa annually producing between 56 and 154 metric tonnes of illicit ivory of which two thirds (37 tons) is destined for Asia worth around USD31 million (Sh2.6 billion) in 2011,” the report said.

The report says that the current poaching rates exceed the regions natural population growth and could quickly diminish the elephant population that had rebounded and increased after the 1970 to 1989 decrease in number.

“East Africa is important as a source of illicit ivory, but it may even be more important as a transit area. In fact majority of recent seizures of illicit ivory made anywhere in the world were exported from either Kenya of Tanzania through Mombasa or Dar es Salaam.The share of large seizures that were trafficked through these two countries appears to be growing,” the report says.

The UNODC report says that ivory is used in Japan for the manufacture of the traditional stamp (hanko), while in China it’s ornaments made out of ivory are a status symbol.

The report urges the government to to prioritize poaching of elephants as a serious offence and initiate sharing of information by concerned countries. It calls for special legislation to deter the poaching and trading in illicit ivory.

Article at the following link:

What to do with stockpile of seized ivory remains a dilemma for government (China)

South China Morning Post
18 August, 2013

More than six months after the government scrapped plans to incinerate its ever-growing stockpile of illicit ivory, conservation officials are still struggling to deal with the estimated 16 tonnes of elephant tusks seized since 2008.

New figures show that 500kg of ivory has been given to schools for educational purposes since the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department decided donations would be a good way to dispose of the contraband.

But with just 3 per cent of the inventory leaving government hands this way, questions have been raised over whether school donations are the best answer as more ivory is seized, placing further pressure on the storage and security of the tusks.

Last year, members of the Endangered Species Advisory Committee rejected incineration and in February, the government agreed – even though this went against its own finding that incineration was an effective way to get rid of the ivory.

Committee chairman Paul Shin Kam-shing said he would be happy to return to the issue if the department pushed for it.

“I can’t recall an urgent sentiment among members on the matter and I don’t feel there’s an urgency to look into the issue again,” Shin said.

The group met a fortnight ago and discussed the most recent seizure on August 7 of more than 1,000 tusks, the fourth shipment of ivory intercepted this year.

“Now that it’s on the agenda, people can raise it again,” Shin said, adding that he would welcome a more thorough review of alternative disposal methods.

He said that as a committee member for eight years and chairman for the past two, ivory had not been discussed much.

Katherine Ma Miu-wah, one of the members who rejected the incineration plan, said it was a sensitive topic.

“The first thought was what a waste to incinerate and destroy something which is supposed to be valuable,” Ma said. “Emotionally, it was difficult to accept.”

Ma, who is no longer on the committee, said donating ivory to schools was not the ideal answer either.

“Some schools may not want to take it because it’s too big and precious,” she said. “Having ivory in the corridor of a school sounds weird and it’s not too educational, is it?

“In a way it’s paradoxical, a Catch-22 situation. You want to preserve the ivory but it promotes cruelty. But to incinerate it, people feel it would be such a waste. Unless there’s a better option, keeping it is a safe way to allow more time to think it through.”

The School of Chinese Medicine at Baptist University is one of the 140 schools to have received ivory specimens this year.

The school’s associate dean, Professor Zhao Zhong-zhen, is a member of the advisory committee, and said through a spokeswoman that his role was to promote the conservation of Chinese-herbal-medicine resources and ensure that there was a “sustainable supply”. Zhao would not speak directly, while another member, Dr Chiu Sein-tuck from the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, said ivory was “too sensitive” to discuss.