John Frederick Walker

JFW on Ivory Trade

Posted in conservation news, ivory news by JFW on January 5, 2017



Wéi kann der illegaler Juegd op Elefanten an Nashörner en Enn gesat ginn?


I was recently interviewed on Radio Luxembourg by Mohamed Hamdi for an episode centered on the ivory trade. The entire program is here, presented in Luxembourgish.  My responses included the following:

“I’m basically against the trade of animal products from threatened and endangered species, but with some exceptions. It’s important to distinguish between wildlife products that require the death of the animal and those that don’t.  And you don’t have to kill elephants to get their tusks. Eventually, like all creatures, they die and leave behind their tusks. Something like 15 to 20 tons a year of this natural mortality ivory is recovered in the bush and warehoused in African national park systems. As long as there are these animals, there’s going to be ivory. The argument for allowing a highly regulated and transparent trade in legal ivory is that it creates a socially acceptable outlet for legitimate interest and no-harm-to-elephants ivory. All other ivory commerce by contrast would be unacceptable, illicit, criminal, rightly condemned on the grounds that it threatens elephants. I think that the very existence of historic carvings and legal ivory of this nature means that  a complete prohibition of ivory commerce is never going to be universally accepted. Total prohibition is just going to drive demand under ground where it can only be supplied by organized crime….”

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