News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

China was 'given permission' 6 years ago to import 60 tons of ivory from Africa. Phonies in London now meet to discuss crisis that elephants are becoming extinct because of China demand. Who gave China 'permission'? BBC

2/13/14, "Uncovering China's illegal ivory trade," BBC, Damian Grammaticas

"A major conference in London is considering how to protect Africa's wildlife, including rhinos and elephants, from an unprecedented surge in illegal trafficking. Conservationists warn that the growth in the illegal ivory trade means elephants could be wiped out in parts of Africa in the next few years. As demand from China pushes levels of poaching and smuggling to new highs, we investigate China's illegal ivory traders.

In a nondescript shopping mall in Beijing sellers offering antiques and artworks are crammed together. The shops are piled high with stone carvings, jade and ivory. Some have whole elephant tusks on display, others ivory figures, statues and intricately worked scenes.

As soon as we enter one shop with cabinet after cabinet of carvings, the owner gets tense and defensive. "We have a licence. We have a legal licence to sell ivory. It's hanging there," he says pointing to the wall.


China has around 150 legal, government-licensed ivory shops. This is one of them. They are the only places allowed to sell ivory to individual buyers. The government says ivory carving is an ancient art it wants to keep alive. 

Chinese consumers, increasingly wealthy, desire ivory....

China's government was given permission to import one consignment of more than 60 tonnes of ivory from Africa six years ago. Pieces carved from that legal stockpile can be sold in China as long as they have a driving-licence-sized photo identification. 

But when we look closely at the pictures on the photo IDs in the shop we are in, the images do not quite match the carvings on sale. When we ask about the discrepancy the shopkeeper tells us it is time to leave.

"It's just a matter of the angle the picture is taken from. You shouldn't make a fuss about it," he says, adding: "I'm off. I'm closing now. I told you. It's an angle problem."


It is a common scam. Reusing old IDs to sell new pieces of ivory can be a way of laundering ivory that is not from the legal stockpile but illegal, smuggled into China....

Demand from China is a major factor in the surge in poaching and smuggling. 

Some believe the answer is a total ban on ivory sales. China does not want that. 

But while the buying goes on, so does the killing, pushing elephants in parts of Africa towards extinction....

"In 2011, we had 25,000 elephants illegally killed on the African continent. Last year, it was 22,000. So that was almost 50,000 elephants illegally killed for their ivory in just two years. This is decimating the African elephant population and we will soon see local extinctions in some areas, in particular within Central Africa.""...







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