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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid