China’s Economic Boom Fueling Poaching In Africa

ElephantGreg Neale and James Burton writes in the Guardian:

Elephant poaching in Africa and Asia is being fuelled by China’s economic boom, according to a study of the ivory trade.

Authors of the new report found that the number of ivory items on sale in key centres in southern China has more than doubled since 2004, with most traded illegally. The survey comes amid reports of a dramatic rise in rhino poaching across Africa, and a spate of thefts of rhino horns from European museums and auction houses.

Based on the results of their survey, the ivory researchers are calling for China to tighten its enforcement of ivory trading regulations, saying that such a move is vital to reduce the number of elephants that are killed illegally. The report is published on the eve of a meeting in Geneva of the Cites organisation, which is responsible for controlling trade in endangered wildlife species.

Esmond Martin, a Kenya-based expert on the ivory and rhino-horn trade, and his colleague Lucy Vigne surveyed ivory carving factories and shops in Guangzhou and Fuzhou in January. In Guangzhou, they found that the volume of ivory goods on sale had doubled since 2004. But while some of the ivory they found being carved or sold was being traded legally – including an increasing number of prehistoric mammoth tusks imported from Russia – most lacked legally required documentation, and many traders were unregistered.

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