Ironic ivory? Ivory trinkets carved into elephants, potentially from butchered wild elephants. Picture taken in the Jatujak weekend market, Thailand in 2014. Photo: Naomi Doak / TRAFFIC

By Jeremy Hance
7 July 2014

( – In the last four years the price of ivory in China has tripled, according to new research from Save the Elephants. The news has worrying implications for governments and conservationists struggling to save elephants in Africa amidst a poaching epidemic, which has seen tens-of-thousands of elephants butchered for their tusks across the continent annually.

"The average price paid by craftsmen or factory owners, for good quality, privately-owned 1-4 kilograms elephant tusks in Beijing in early 2014 was $2,100 per kilogram," said Esmond Martin, who conducted a survey in May along with Lucy Vigne. "The average price for similar tusks in 2010 was $750 per kilogram."

According to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), last year at least 20,000 elephants were killed in Africa. This is a slight decline from a high of 25,000 in 2011. However other conservation groups believe far more elephants are being killed. For example, Save the Elephants puts the number at 33,000 every year between 2010-2012. […]

"Without concerted international action to reduce the demand for ivory measures to reduce the killing of elephants for ivory will fail," said Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants. "Although half a world away, China holds the key to the future of the African elephant." [more]

Price of ivory triples in China



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