Tag Archives: ivory trade

Influential Chinese business leaders say no to ivory

February 2014
Wildlife Extra News

More than 30 business leaders in China have taken a public stand against the ivory trade by signing a pledge to never purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift.

The group includes Charles Chao, CEO of Sina Corp., China’s largest Internet portal, Liu Chuanzhi, Chair of Lenovo, and 10 individuals from the Forbes 2013 China Rich List including Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group. “As China grows up, Chinese companies should do the same and take on more social responsibility,” said WildAid China Chair, Huang Nubo who spearheaded the campaign. “This is why we are joining efforts to protect our planet’s wildlife. We hope this ethic becomes engrained in us and is passed down to future generations.”

The Chinese government crushed more than six tonnes of its ivory stockpile earlier this year and is considering ending legal ivory sales, which have been shown to enable laundering of poached ivory.

Ivory Pledge

In recent years, poaching as a result of the trade in illegal ivory is posing enormous threats to the survival of elephants. I’m aware of the following:

1. Each year around 25,000 African elephants are killed for their ivory2. The population of elephants has declined 62% in the last 10 years3. Rampant elephant poaching is having negative impacts on the economy, tourism, and national security of many African nations4. Terrorist groups in Africa are being supported in part through the illegal ivory trade5. According to official reports and statistics, China is the largest importer of illegal ivory, and Chinese nationals are increasingly involved in the illegal ivory trade6. Illegal ivory trade is damaging China’s international reputation.  Because of this, I pledge the following: 1. I will not purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift2. I will encourage friends, family, and employees to not purchase ivory products Signatories
Cao Guowei (Charles Chao) – CEO, Sina Corp

Deng Feng – CEO and Chairman, Beiji Guangfeng Investment Fund Ding Liguo – Founder, Liguo Corp. Feng Lun – Chairman, Vantone Holdings Huang Nubo – Chairman, Zhongkun GroupJiang Xipei – Chairman, Yuandong HoldingsLi Dongsheng – Chairman, TCL Group Li Shufu – Chairman, Geely Group Li Zhenfu – China Regional President, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Liu Chuanzhi – Chairman, Lenovo Liu Donghua – Founder, Zhenghedao Group Liu Jiren – Chairman, Dongruan Group Liu Jun – Deputy Chairman, Guangxi People’s Congress CommitteeMa Yun (Jack Ma) – Founder, Alibaba Group Niu Gensheng – Founder, Lao Niu Foundation Shen Guojun – CEO and Chairman, Yintai Holdings Corp. Tang Yue – Founding Partner, Blue Mountain China Capital Wang Chaoyong – Founder and President, Xinzhongli International Holdings Wang Junhao – Deputy Chairman, Junyao Group Wang Lifen – Founder, Beijing Youshimi Internet Technology Co. Ltd.Wang Wenjing – CEO and Chairman, Yongyou Software Corp.Wang Zhongjun – Chairman, Huaiyi Brothers Media Corp. Wu Jianmin – Deputy Director, China External Affairs Committee Wu Yajun – Chairman, Longhu Group Xia Hua – Chairman, Yiwen Enterprise Group Xie Mian – Art and culture criticXu Shaochun – Founder, Jindie Software GroupXu Zhihong – Scholar, China Academy of ScienceYang Shaopeng – Chairman, Haifeng International Shipping Corp.Yu Minhong – Founder, New Oriental GroupYuan Yue – Chaiman, Lingdian Consulting Zhang Weiying – Renowned Economist Zhang Xingsheng ( Jim Zhang) – Managing Directory, The Nature Conservancy Greater China Region Zhou Qiren – Dean, Peking University National Development AcademyZhou Qifeng – Renowned Chemist Zhu Xinli – Chairman, Beijing Huiyuan Beverage Company

Ivory trade: A security as well as an environmental concern

Voice of Russia

February 3, 2014
Top level government representatives from 50 countries will gather this month to apply pressure on China to clamp down on ivory consumption within its borders. A growing Chinese middle class has stoked demand for the luxury material, leading to a killing spree in Africa. But there is also a deeper security concern – African militia and criminal groups sell the ivory for cash, which they use to buy weapons. Natasha Moriarty investigates.

The summit aims to bring together top-level government representatives from 50 countries and for the first time it is hoped one of China’s vice premiers will attend.

Prince William is expected to make a speech at the conference, which will be attended by Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague. US Secretary of StateJohn Kerry will also be present, along with the leaders of several African countries.

Organisers hope that Chinese media icons Jackie Chan – the actor – and Yao Ming – the 7ft 6in former basketball star – will attend, to ensure the conference receives widespread coverage in China.

Andrew Leun, an independent expert on China, says:

“There’s an important role to be played by media icons like Jackie Chan .. the Chinese want to stand tall in the world not just because of the growth of the economy but because they embrace world values … nationalism and pride will play a big role in stamping out the ivory trade.”

China drives ivory trade

The explosive growth of China’s emerging middle class has brought with it sweeping economic change and social transformation – and a rapacious appetite for ivory.

China is responsible for over 70 percent of global demand for illegal ivory, and the Chinese are also the world’s leading consumers of tiger bone soup and rhino horn cures.

Without the demand from China, conservationists say the illegal ivory trade would all but dry up.

The Chinese have coveted ivory for centuries. Hand-carved ivory objects are proudly displayed in Chinese homes to symbolise wealth and status.

But now, unprecedented numbers are able to afford the precious material.

China’s economic boom has created a vast upper-middle class, and this new consumer group has caused the price of ivory to triple on the streets of Beijing.

Slaughter in Africa

Tens of thousands of African elephants are now being slaughtered to meet the demand. Last year, poaching in Africa was at its highest level since an international ban on ivory was applied in 1989.

Conservationists say the frenzy of killing now threatens the future survival of elephants.

Though much of the ivory traded is illegal, loopholes in trade regulations allow the sale of ivory in some circumstances. Countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe – where elephant populations are stable – are allowed to sell trophy licences that allow hunters to bring ivory across borders. Ivory obtained before the international ban is also legal – which provides an effective smokescreen for criminal trade.

Will Travers of Born Free says:

“China is the biggest market because in 2008 the international community decided it was acceptable to sell some stockpiled ivory to China and Japan to satisfy demand … what it did was it stimulated demand…”

But global leaders are not motivated by concern for elephants and rhinos alone. They smell danger.

Links with armed groups

The underground ivory trade is increasingly militarised. Militia groups sell ivory, and use this cash to buy weapons.

Organized crime syndicates link up with them to move the ivory around the world, exploiting turbulent states, porous borders and corrupt officials from sub-Saharan Africa all the way to China.

Links have been established with Africa’s most notorious armed groups, al-Shabaab –the al-Qaeda cell group involved in the recent Westgate Mall siege in Nairobi – and central Africa’s Lord’s Resistance Army.

Last week, the UN Security Council made moves to impose international sanctions and freeze the assets of illegal wildlife traffickers.

We spoke to Charlie Mayhew, CEO of conservation group Tusk Trust, about the security concerns.

Conference focus

The London conference will focus on four objectives: strengthening law enforcement; reducing demand; international collaboration; and helping Africa communities to find sources of income linked to protecting the animals rather than killing them. Higher penalties for poaching and  smuggling will be a key topic of discussion.

All 38 African countries with elephants have agreed that their highest priority is to protect their elephants.

Conservationists hope the conference will herald an era when concern for animal welfare – rather than expensive trinkets – will be the hottest status symbol in China.

Chinese arrested with 3kg ivory at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Kenya)

By CYRUS OMBATI, Standard Digital

January 19th 2014
NAIROBI, KENYA: A Chinese national was Saturday arrested at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after being found with 3.4 kilograms of ivory.
The 40-year-old man was found with the lower ivory while from Napula, Mozambique to Guangzhou, China. His plane had touched down at JKIA and was to connect when he was seized.
Police said the ivory was in his luggage and had been packaged in disguise as cups.
Airport CID boss Joseph Ngisa said the arrest was made on Saturday evening and that the man will appear in court today to face charges of being in possession of the ivory.
“We are seeing an increase of these suspects originating Mozambique with the ivory but we are keen to stop the practice,” said Ngisa.
His arrest came two days after another Chinese national was arrested with ivory, leopards’ skin and multiple passports. He is believed to be behind a number of cases of smuggling of people and ivory in the country, police said.
The 41-year-old suspect was arrested at an apartment Thursday with goods valued at millions of shillings in the posh Riverside estate, Nairobi.
This comes even as Kenya and Chinese government are collaborating to fight poaching and illegal trade of wildlife.
The international trade in elephant ivory, with rare exceptions, has been outlawed since 1989 after elephant populations in Africa dropped from millions in the mid-20th century to some 600,000 by the end of the 1980s. Ivory trade is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). East African nations have recently recorded an increase in poaching incidents.
The illegal ivory trade is mostly fuelled by demand in Asia and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used to make ornaments and in traditional medicines.
Africa is home to an estimated 472,000 elephants, whose survival is threatened by poaching and the illegal trade in game trophies, as well as a rising human population that is causing habitat loss. To demonstrate the seriousness and commitment to end the menace, China recently crushed six tones of the ivory.

A Map Of the World That Shows the Global Economy Of Elephant Poaching

By Tom McKay

The news: After years of stonewalling, China, the world’s largest market for illegal ivory, and 30 other countries have agreed to treat the ivory trade as a serious criminal offense after a Botswana summit.

The agreement seeks to eliminate the ivory trade, imposing stricter penalties for smugglers and poachers, including harsher prison sentences and declaring engagement in the trade an offense enforceable under international law. Nations involved in the ivory trade which attended the summit will intensify efforts to coordinate intelligence-sharing.

“With an estimated 22,000 African Elephants illegally killed in 2012, we continue to face a critical situation,” said John E. Scanlon, CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) secretary-general.

China is responsible for purchasing roughly 70% of the world’s ivory, which is used in expensive luxury goods such as carvings, and is ground into powder for use in traditional Chinese medicine. Meng Xianlin, a Chinese wildlife official, says that Asian demand requires up to 220 lbs. of ivory every year — or the lives of 20,000 elephants. Chinese investors callivory “white gold,” while carvers and enthusiasts call it “organic gemstone.” The smugglers themselves are more honest: They refer to ivory as “bloody teeth.”

How bad is this underground economy? Quartz pulled these charts from a CITES report, demonstrating how Chinese demand for ivory has increased dramatically over the past decade:

 

Those 22,000 elephants killed in 2012 are approximately 7.4% of the African elephant population, a number far exceeding their natural replenishment rate of 5% a year.

While poaching was down approximately 3,000 elephants from a harvesting peak in 2011, 2013 could be 20% higher than it was during the height of poaching that year. Or, more bluntly, one of the worst years on record. If the trend isn’t reversed, poaching could wipe out one-fifth of Africa’s elephants over the next decade.

 

That same CITES report says that “ETIS analyses indicate that, in recent years, China has become the world’s largest consumer of illegal ivory” and that poaching is highly correlated with poverty and weak governance in the countries where it occurs.

Will the new agreement do much? While it’s a step in the right direction, don’t expect an immediate sea change in the illegal ivory trade — even though the organizations involved were pleased with measures to take “immediate action.” The Chinese government is adamant on running a large-scale legal ivory trade, which is known to work with the black market. Until demand fades away, there will always be a market for ivory.

The above article can be found in this link: http://www.policymic.com/articles/75533/a-map-of-the-world-that-shows-the-global-economy-of-elephant-poaching

Kenya: International March for Elephants Invades New York

BY JAMES MURUA, 17 OCTOBER 2013

The Hands Off Our Elephants campaign, led by Dr Paula Kahumbu, went to New York on October 4 for the International March for Elephants to raise global awareness on the illegal ivory trade and its dire impact on elephant populations. They also spoke on the impact of poaching on human rights issues, national security and global economy, and asked governments around the world to end it. The campaign has also been active in Kenya.

The walk to the United Nations office in New York saw some star power coming through to support the initiative and included supermodel Christie Brinkley and actress Kristin Davis (Sex and the City, Melrose Place). They were accompanied by director general of Vision 2030 Mugo Kibati and deputyd irector of the Kenyan Wildlife Service Patrick Omondi. Also in the walk was Iain Douglas-Hamilton, a zoologist known for his study of elephants.

This article is from the following link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201310170965.html

WildlifeDirect & Conservation Partners Announce Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action: Partnership to Save Africa’s Elephants

***NEWS RELEASE***

CEO Dr. Paula Kahumbu represents Kenya’s “Hands Off Our Elephants” Campaign in Meeting with Hillary & Chelsea Clinton

Commitment’s Goal: Stop the Killing, Stop the Trafficking,
Stop the Demand

Commitment Makers include: Wildlife Conservation Society,
African Wildlife Foundation, Conservation International, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and World Wildlife Fund

Commitment Partners: African Parks Network, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Frankfurt Zoological Society, Freeland Foundation, Howard Buffett Foundation, International Conservation Caucus Foundation, National Geographic, Save the Elephants, TRAFFIC, WildAid and WildlifeDirect

Nations joining in commitment include: Botswana, Cote D’Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, South Sudan, Malawi, and Uganda

NEW YORK (Sept. 26, 2013) – Conservation groups announced today a three-year $80 million Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action to stop the slaughter of Africa’s elephants, decimated due to poaching for ivory. Dr. Paula Kahumbu, CEO of WildlifeDirect, met with former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea, of the Clinton Foundation. “We are proud to join forces with these two formidable women who are dedicating real commitment and power to this cause,” Kahumbu said; “It is notable that Hillary herself raised the issue of the connection between the slaughter of elephants and the slaughter of humans by terrorist groups who fund their attacks by this greed. I only regret that President and First Lady of Kenya could not be here because of the tragedy in Nairobi, but am proud Africa was well represented at this table.”

The Commitment Makers and their partners commit to funding and facilitating partnerships to advance a new three-pronged strategy that will catalyze a global movement to coordinate and leverage influence, constituencies, and resources to protect key elephant populations from poaching while reducing trafficking and demand for ivory. Funding for this commitment has been provided by myriad public and private sources, including U.S., European, and African governments; along with multi-lateral institutions, foundations, and concerned individuals. Nations joining in the commitment include: Botswana, Cote D’Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, South Sudan, Malawi, and Uganda.

These funds will be used to support national governments to scale up anti-poaching enforcement at the 50 priority elephant sites including hiring and supporting an additional 3,100 park guards. In addition, anti-trafficking efforts will be increased by strengthening intelligence networks and penalties for violations and adding training and sniffer dog teams at 10 key transit points. New demand reduction efforts will be implemented in 10 consumer markets over the next three years.

Further, leaders from African nations led a call for other countries to adopt trade moratoria on all commercial ivory imports, exports and domestic sales of ivory products until African elephant populations are no longer threatened by poaching.

The commitment was announced at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting underway in New York City. CGI’s 2013 theme, Mobilizing for Impact, explores ways that CGI members and member organizations can be more effective in leveraging individuals, partner organizations, and key resources in their commitment efforts.

Today’s announcement is the culmination of work by Secretary Clinton while serving as Secretary of State, as well as Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton’s engagement, who visited conservation sites on a trip with the Clinton Foundation to Africa this summer. Together, they have convened the NGO’s and nations to ensure rapid progress to a solution to prevent the extinction of Africa’s elephants and the proliferation of the violence caused by the criminal syndicates wiping out the elephants.

In addition to the funds already committed, the partnership urgently seeks additional partners to provide $70 million in financial or in-kind support over the next three years to reverse the decline of Africa’s elephants.

African elephants are being lost at an unprecedented rate, and the demand for ivory shows no decline. Tens of thousands of elephants are being killed illegally each year across Africa with some 35,000 lost in 2012 alone.

In addition to uniting national leaders and concerned groups and citizens, the commitment will focus attention on the national and global security implications of wildlife trafficking. As one of the world’s most lucrative criminal activities, valued at $7-10 billion annually, illegal wildlife trade ranks fifth globally in terms of value, behind the trafficking in drugs, people, oil and counterfeiting. Notorious extremist groups like the Lord’s Resistance Army, the janjaweed, and al-Shabaab poach ivory to fund terror operations.

Commitment Makers include: Wildlife Conservation Society, African Wildlife Foundation, Conservation International, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and World Wildlife Fund.

Commitment Partners are African Parks Network, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Frankfurt Zoological Society, Freeland Foundation, Howard Buffett Foundation, International Conservation Caucus Foundation, National Geographic, Save the Elephants, TRAFFIC, WildAid and WildlifeDirect.

The commitment runs through 2016 and addresses the problem on three fronts: stop the killing; stop the trafficking; and stop the demand:

Stop the Killing: The Commitment will scale up “on the ground” anti-poaching enforcement in African range states to reduce the amount of illegally killed elephants to below 50 percent.

NGO partners will support government efforts to scale up law enforcement in and around 50 key protected areas in Africa that together harbor approximately 285,000 elephants, or some two-thirds of the entire African population. NGO partners pledge to support the anti-poaching efforts of over 5,000 park guards at these sites. Partners project that this investment will reduce the average percentage of illegally killed elephants (PIKE) across these sites from 66 percent to 48 percent, with elephant population decline halted in about half of the 50 sites (PIKE less than 50 percent). Thus this effort will take the commitment halfway to its ultimate goal, reversing the decline in Africa’s elephants.

Stop the Trafficking: Partner NGOs will support governments in identifying and implementing priority actions to combat trafficking in ivory. A complimentary range of urgent actions will be used to strengthen enforcement capacity at ports and markets; increase intelligence-led crackdowns on illicit networks; secure ivory stockpiles, and reform laws and penalties can be tailored to rapidly reduce trafficking.

This commitment includes an African government led call for other countries to adopt trade moratoria on all commercial ivory imports, exports and domestic sales of ivory products until African elephant populations are no longer threatened by poaching. Government partners will initiate and support an African range state-led call to other range, transit and consumer countries to declare or restate domestic moratoria on all ivory and ivory product sales and purchases.

The partners commit to helping governments to reduce the number of large scale ivory shipments by 50 percent from 2011 baseline levels (the worst year on record for these ivory seizures) and extrapolating for changes in enforcement effort. In addition, the partners will work with governments to improve the potential detection and prosecution of illegal ivory trade by increasing the number of law enforcement officers and judiciary trained in Africa and Asia by 50 percent compared to 2011 levels by 2016.

Stop the Demand: The Commitment will target key consumer markets to increase awareness about poaching and illegal ivory trade, including generating 10 million actions taken via social media platforms to reduce ivory consumption and highlight the impact of ivory sales on the African elephant.

NGOs will use increased awareness to drive behavioral changes that will reduce consumption as well as result in “grassroots” political pressure on the governments of key consumer countries. Partners will work together to reduce the demand for ivory among potential consumers by both increasing awareness of the issues and providing mechanisms for civil society to take action. Partners pledge to take action, both individually and collectively, to reduce the stated intention to purchase ivory by at least 25 percent in key markets by the end of 2016 as measured by market research conducted at regular intervals throughout the duration of the commitment. This will be achieved by producing awareness content/materials and improving penalties and prosecutions that will spur behavior change and/or online action in key consumer countries. To measure success, standardized, replicable, scalable public opinion polls and surveys will be conducted within priority consumer countries.

Wildlife Conservation Society President and CEO Cristián Samper said: “On behalf of all the NGO partners involved in this initiative, I’m proud to announce that the Wildlife Conservation Society and their partners commit to providing $80 million over the next year to protect elephant populations by stopping the killing of elephants, stopping the trafficking in ivory, and stopping the demand for ivory across the world. We thank the Clinton Global Initiative, Sec. Clinton and Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton for helping to convene all the partners and for their long-time dedication to end this crisis. I know, together, we can move beyond extinction stats to the solutions to save elephants.”

African Wildlife Foundation CEO Patrick Bergin said: “We cannot hope to reverse the dramatic decline in elephant populations in Africa without addressing all three parts of the problem: the poaching of elephants on the ground in Africa, the global trafficking of ivory, and the insatiable demand by consumers for ivory products. This joint Commitment to Action demonstrates how much the resolution of this crisis relies on the coordination of efforts by multiple parties, from conservation organizations to governments around the world. African Wildlife Foundation thanks the Clinton Global Initiative for providing all of us with an opportunity to elevate the visibility of this crisis, and we personally thank Sec. Clinton and Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton for shining a spotlight on Africa’s elephants.”

Conservation International’s Co-founder, Chairman and CEO, Peter Seligmann, said: “We applaud the Clinton Global Initiative for bringing this issue to the world stage, and greatly appreciate the deep and sustained personal involvement of Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, as well as that of our NGO, Foundation and government partners. Wildlife trafficking is directly connected to the global economy and security. It weakens ecosystems, fuels terrorist organizations, and threatens livelihoods. Conservation International is proud to be a part of this Commitment to Action, as it is in all of our enlightened self-interests to put an end to this deadly trade.”

Azzedine Downes, IFAW President and CEO, said: “The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) committed to this partnership from the outset because it represents the kind of large-scale and strategic collaboration it will take to save African elephants. Animal welfare and conservation organizations, range states and consumer countries, law enforcement and communities that live around the elephants—we all need to work together on a common plan if there is to be any hope of success.”

Carter Roberts, President & CEO of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said: “We know how to solve this crisis. What’s been missing is a united front from governments, NGOs and the private sector to scale up resources to stop the killing and crush the demand. Look at what has been done with conflict diamonds and fur from endangered species. The more people are aware of the consequences of what they buy, it changes what they do. We need to do the same with elephant ivory and rhino horn and tiger bone. What person would buy these things if they knew they slaughtered the most magnificent animals in the world? Because when people buy parts of these animals, they are contributing to the catastrophic killing taking place right now.”
Increasing consumer demand for ivory, particularly in Asia, is causing the price of ivory to skyrocket and is driving elephant poaching. Today’s ivory traffickers are primarily well-organized syndicates that operate as transnational criminal networks and often participate in other illegal activities, including trafficking in narcotics and weapons, and with links to terrorist networks. The poachers not only threaten the lives of elephants, but at least 1,000 park rangers have been killed in the line of duty over the past ten years, as they try to protect elephants and other wildlife.

Dr Paula Kahumbu with members of the CGI group in New York

Dr Paula Kahumbu
with members of the
CGI group in New York

###

About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,300 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 400 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $73.5 billion. CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world, and, this year, CGI Latin America, which will bring together Latin American leaders to identify, harness, and strengthen ways to improve the livelihoods of people in Latin America and around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

http://t.co/nZe8wYpRI3

Media Contacts:
Tim Smyth

Time for a Hong Kong tusk force to combat illegal ivory trade (China)

Anna Beech, South China Morning Post
06 September, 2013

China is the largest consumer of ivory and its demand is bringing the African and Asian elephants to the point of extinction. According to the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency, all wild elephants will be wiped out in the next five to 10 years if poaching and habitat loss continue at the present rate.

Hong Kong has a vital role in all this. A report to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) says that Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Hong Kong accounted for 60 per cent of large-scale seizures since 2009, totalling 41.1 tonnes. As both a demand city and also one of the largest transit points where elephant parts are redirected elsewhere, usually mainland China, Hong Kong is at the forefront of this battle to halt the ivory trade.

What can be done to save the elephant? CITES was developed to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Yet despite a consensus about the threatened status of elephants, CITES has failed to prevent their wholesale slaughter or dampened the motivation for their trade.

Hong Kong has the requisite system in place to intercept illegally traded wildlife and, by law, the Customs and Excise Department is obliged to check that elephants and elephant parts are not illegally traded and handled through its ports. However, many would argue the scale of the operation to enforce these requirements is too small.

The nature of the ivory trade adds to the complexity in enforcement. Much like the illegal trade in narcotics, counterfeits and human trafficking, the global ivory trade is controlled by organised crime syndicates, often using similar trade routes. From the initial poaching of the elephant, transport by air or sea, to handling by dealers and sale in the destination country, the process is highly organised and requires a degree of complicity from corrupt park officials, the police and customs officers.

This makes catching illegal traders and prosecuting offenders extremely difficult, and fudged permit declarations hard to trace. Despite the interception of a number of big ivory shipments in recent years, enforcement in Hong Kong needs to be scaled up to more adequately address the problem.

Better surveillance and use of technology are crucial, and the establishment of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime should help key transit ports like Hong Kong co-operate and share intelligence with authorities from other demand, transit and source countries.

We need an equally heavy focus on the demand side. Environmental non-governmental organisations and campaign groups in Hong Kong and mainland China need to focus on communicating the realities and consequences of the ivory trade to consumers.

WildAid, a US-based NGO, has been running TV and social media campaigns in China to stem the trade in different species, including a prominent shark fin campaign with celebrities such as actor Jackie Chan. Ivory and shark fin consumption have similar connotations of prestige in Chinese society, and campaigns that help to demystify such purchases can make a big difference in driving down demand.

KWS accuses the rich of poaching (Kenya)

RAPHAEL MWADIME, The Star

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.

Togo ivory boss implicates others in trafficking

By ERICK KAGLAN and ROBBIE COREY-BOULET
Associated Press

LOME, Togo (AP) – For more than three decades, Emile N’Bouke operated a small, unmarked shop on the corner of a busy street in downtown Lome that received few customers and kept irregular hours.

Wood sculptures and iron masks could be seen through the barred storefront window, but activists say N’Bouke’s real job was serving as “The Boss” of Togo’s ivory trafficking trade. And as early as 1976, N’Bouke was presenting himself as an ivory expert and former U.N. consultant who could find loopholes around any international ban after it went into effect.

When authorities arrested him this week, they found some 1,500 pounds of ivory in his possession, a fraction of the inventory he had allegedly moved during decades of illegal trafficking. It was the first such operation in a country that has recently emerged as a main transit point for ivory bound for Asia and other markets.

N’Bouke told The Associated Press on Thursday that he was a “victim of injustice” in a misguided crackdown, claiming he had in fact been trying to help Togolese officials identify “the real ivory traffickers” in the country.

“During our last meeting three or four weeks ago, I informed the authorities that most people who work in ivory and who traffic ivory without the right papers are Guineans,” he said.

He said he began trading ivory in 1983, six years before the global ban went into effect, and that all his work had been authorized by a “special permit” he managed to obtain and repeatedly renew.

“You know all work is subject to the law. I’ve got my permission, my special permit,” he said.

Togo’s Environment Minister Dede Ekoue said N’Bouke’s claim about a permit was untrue.

Known locally as “The Boss” because of his seniority in Togo’s ivory trade, N’Bouke’s capture could shed considerable light on international ivory networks that have ramped up their operations to match rising demand in recent years, reaching clients in Europe, Asia and the United States, said Ofir Drori, founder of the Last Great Ape Organization that began investigating N’Bouke late last year.

Even without those leads, the arrest removes from the market a man who activists say has played a leading role in devastating Africa’s elephant population. According to a report by the United Nations body that regulates the wildlife trade, 2011 was the worst year on record for elephant poaching in Africa.

“Every ivory trafficker we were trying to investigate was leading us back to him,” Drori said of N’Bouke. “He is the godfather of ivory trafficking in Togo,” Drori said, pointing out that the ivory seized this week amounted to only a fraction of his dealings.

“If you can imagine this activity multiplied by nearly 40 years of work, 40 years of contacts, 40 years of criminal activity, you can imagine that this person alone is in charge of the slaughter of dozens of thousands of elephants,” Drori said.

The international ivory trade was banned in 1989, but illicit trading has risen sharply in the past seven years or so, with demand fueled by a rising middle class in China whose members view ivory as a symbol of wealth and status, said Bas Huijbregts, head of the campaign against illegal wildlife trade in Central Africa for the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Researchers have only recently begun to tease out the role played by transit countries, which don’t actually provide any of the ivory they export. Togo, for instance, likely receives its ivory from Gabon, northern Republic of Congo and southeastern Cameroon, experts say. From Lome, it is transported out by plane or sea.

Last month, more than two tons of ivory hidden in a cargo container at the port in Lome was seized in Hong Kong, according to Togolese officials. And last December, some 24 tons of ivory sent from Togo was seized in Malaysia.

Ekoue, the environment minister, said Togo was determined to crack down on the trade.

“This activity can no longer prosper because the Togolese government is committed to discouraging further action from criminals who use our territory as a platform,” she said.

However, even if the laws are adequately enforced, there’s no guarantee they will effectively deter future traffickers. Drori said that despite the extensive case against N’Bouke, the maximum prison sentence he can receive on trafficking charges is just one year.

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This article is from the following link: http://www.woi-tv.com/story/23085051/togo-ivory-boss-implicates-others-in-trafficking

Kenya Airways backs Anti-poaching Campaign

PRESS RELEASE

Kenya Airways backs Anti-poaching Campaign

NAIROBI JULY 24, 2013 – Kenya Airways has joined the ‘Hands Off Our Elephants’ campaign that aims at ending elephants poaching and ivory trafficking through Kenya, as well as eliminating demand for the commodity around the world.

The campaign, which is spearheaded by Kenya’s First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, has been put together by WildlifeDirect, a wildlife conservation charity, to create awareness, engagement and mobilization on the issue within Kenya, across Africa and around the world

Kenya Airways’ Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Titus Naikuni, said that conservation of elephants and other wildlife, is the responsibility of all Kenyan individuals, companies and government agencies.

“Elephants are part of our environment; therefore poaching them harms our country and national heritage. Mother Nature is very unforgiving when we change the balance in the environment. This is the reason we decided to get involved. As Kenya Airways, we do not condone poaching or delivery of poached ivory on our flights, and this message has been passed to our staff and passengers. Any of our staff found involved or abetting poaching will face the consequences,” Dr Naikuni added during a press briefing held in Nairobi.

Speaking during the briefing, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Judi Wakhungu, said that the government is stepping up anti-poaching efforts by deploying modern technology and modernization of the Kenya Wildlife Service; in addition to establishing a Canine Unit to detect movements of illegal ivory at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and Moi International Airports in Mombasa.

“The government has also directed that all poaching cases be prosecuted as economic crimes, and revised penalties to higher fines of over Ksh1 million and sentences of over 5 years. Once the new Wildlife Bill is enacted, these penalties and sentences will be enhanced to make them punitive and discourage poaching and ivory traffickers,” Prof Wakhungu added.

The director general of the Vision 2030 delivery board, Mugo Kibati, said that elephants are a major factor in the success of the tourism industry, which is one of the major sectors in the economic pillar of Kenya’s Vision 2030.

“In our Medium Term Plan, we have set out to grow tourist numbers from the current 2 million to 3 million by the year 2017. However, this will not happen if our elephants disappear,” Mr Kibati told the press briefing.

In recent days, there has been a surge in cases of poaching, posing a threat to elephants. According to statistics from the Kenya Wildlife Service, elephant poaching has grown consistently over the last three during which 829 elephants were killed. Last year, Kenya lost 384 elephants to poachers compared to 278 in 2011 and 177 in 2010.

In addition to this, the country has been identified as one of the leading transit routes for smuggling ivory out of Africa, with several incidents of ivory seizures and recovery of wildlife carcasses in recent days. KWS estimates that more than eight tonnes of raw and worked ivory have been seized since 2009.

The demand for ivory in the Far East, particularly China, has attracted criminal cartels to Kenya, who are feeding the insatiable demand. Conservationists warn that unless the demand is extinguished, poachers will wipe out Africa’s elephants.

The CEO of Wildlife Direct, Dr Paula Kahumbu, lauded the government for welcoming the initiative which brings Kenyans together to save the country’s heritage.

“Kenya traditionally has been at the frontline in combating elephant poaching but we have lost that ground in recent years. It is essential that we work together and restore our leadership position in the world to ensuring that we protect our endangered species, and a global heritage. While we crack down on wildlife crime in Kenya, we also need the help of governments of Africa, Thailand, China and US whom we are asking to ban the domestic markets of ivory as legal markets are a cover for laundering illegal ivory. We will also appeal to the hearts of anyone buying ivory in these countries as they are contributing to the slaughter of African elephants,” Dr Kahumbu added.

In February, Kenya Airways signed a deal with Born Free Foundation, an international charity, to contribute towards anti-poaching campaigns and conservation of wildlife conservation in Africa, and partner to raise funds for such initiatives.