News / Asia

Demand for Ivory Increases Poaching

A worker examines ivory carved into the shape of the Chinese Deity Guanyin at a workshop in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, October 16, 2009.
A worker examines ivory carved into the shape of the Chinese Deity Guanyin at a workshop in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, October 16, 2009.
An  International Fund for Animal Welfare report has linked the increasing number of elephants being killed in Africa with the rising demand for ivory in China.

According to the report,  in 2011 poachers gathered more than 5,200 elephant tusks,  (23 tons) resulting in the deaths of more than 2,500 elephants. It says the majority of that ivory went to China.
 
“The growing demand for ivory products in China is actually driving elephant poaching across Africa," explained Elizabeth Wamba, communications manager for the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Eastern Africa. "It has just been too high. It has escalated by, in some places, in hundreds of percentages.”
 
The report quotes an auction newsletter describing the 2011 sale of more than 11,000 ivory pieces in mainland China for a total of $95.4 million, an increase of 107 percent from the previous year.
 
The report says the price for ivory has soared, but a strengthened Chinese currency against the U.S. dollar makes it more profitable for Chinese buyers to purchase ivory on world markets.
 
The report attributes the rising demand to the legal sale of ivory stockpiles in China and Japan in 2008. The stockpiles originated from South Africa , Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Botswana.
 
China Central Television reported that regular investors are viewing ivory products as being “white gold.”
 
The report says China introduced a system in 2004 to control the domestic ivory market in line with the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, but regulation is virtually non-existent.
 
Of the 158 ivory trade facilities surveyed by Chinese experts in five cities, 101 were operating illegally, not having any government-issued licenses.
 
Nairobi-based wildlife trade expert Esmond Martin has done extensive research on the ivory trade.  He told VOA research he conducted in two Chinese provinces last year revealed about 62 percent of the ivory for retail sale did not have the proper documents.
 
He said much of China’s illegal ivory originates from African countries in which large numbers of Chinese expatriates purchase carvings, jewelry and other items made out of ivory and smuggle them back into China.

“And then you have got the large quantities of ivory being shipped out of Africa, most of it now through East African ports that mostly goes by ship," said Martin. "And it goes to various Asian countries on the way. They  look at various countries where they think it is easy to move stuff out.”
 
Martin said that because there is a certain amount of ivory that is sold legally in China, it is very difficult to determine the difference between legal and illegal ivory goods.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More