Tuesday 8 December 2015

The price of illegal ivory has almost halved

The price of illegal raw ivory in China has almost halved over the past 18 months, according to
new research to be published by Save the Elephants.

Raw ivory prices had tripled in price between 2010 and 2014. The value of raw Ivory was up to
$2100 per kilo, meaning the average elephant was carrying tusks worth around $32000. But by
November 2015 the price had dropped to $1100 per kilo. Still a very expensive and lucrative
commodity, but indicating that perhaps it was getting difficult to sell and maybe it was not
quite such an attractive proposition.

Ivory carvers and sellers are reporting a slump in sales, probably due to increased awareness
by the public of how ivory is obtained, coupled with a downturn in the economy and increased
government efforts to stop illegal ivory sales and regulate the trade.

During President Xi Jinping’s September visit to the USA, he issued a historic joint statement
with President Obama stating that their two governments will halt the commercial trade in ivory. However no timetable was given and it needs to be implemented sooner rather than later.

In Africa there is no indication that the ivory poaching crisis has slackened, even though in
some areas some progress is being made, and time is running out for many elephant populations.

The Chinese government’s strong statements could have been a major driver in the drop in price
but this would likely be reversed if words aren't put into deeds very soon.

For instance the situation in Selous in Tanzania seems to have stabilised (with a low level of
elephants left), but no one really knows what is going on in Ruaha where 1000 elephants a month
were being lost in 2014, and poaching seems to be spreading south and west, with more reports
from Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia coming in.

The last thing we need now is for any dumbass politician to suggest selling off their ivory
stockpile. This would only serve to fan the flames which may be starting to die down a little.

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