John Frederick Walker

eBay ivory sales controversy

Posted in ivory news by JFW on November 19, 2008

Science journalist Brendan Borrell has an article in Slate (“eBay and Ivory,” Nov. 13, 2008) that asks if the auction site’s recent ban on ivory products will actually help elephants. His incisive examination references Ivory’s Ghosts along the way, and ends with some fresh ideas on tracking ivory sales. Here’s an excerpt:

“Wild elephants are never going to be tolerated in Africa so long as locals cannot profit from the animals’ most valuable asset: those 120-pound teeth. As journalist John Frederick Walker argues in his provocative new book, Ivory’s Ghosts: The White Gold of History and the Fate of Elephants (to be published in January), the high regard with which American zoo-goers hold these proboscideans is not shared by poverty-stricken farmers in Kenya, who must contend with 4-ton living bulldozers rampaging their cassava fields and threatening their lives. Flip through African newspapers, and you’ll find lurid headlines describing trampled schoolchildren, panicked villagers, and nightly curfews. Americans would not put up with life under those conditions, yet we have imposed this imperial vision on a far-off continent that we imagine as our private zoo.”

Read the entire article at:

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