14 January 2014
China publicly destroyed confiscated ivory in effort to combat illegal trade
On 6 January 2014, six tonnes of confiscated ivory (ornaments, tusks and carvings) were publicly destroyed by Chinese authorities in the city of Dongguan, in an effort to combat the illegal trade in elephant tusks.
UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Achim Steiner said: “[t]he largest remaining land mammal on the planet is facing one of the greatest crises to hit the species in decades (…) Yet, there is reason for optimism. International cooperation is paving the way towards improved law enforcement and increased efforts to reduce demand. These efforts need to be stepped up and strengthened to produce the desired results (…) We have also seen the destruction of ivory stockpiles across range, transit and demand states: in the Philippines, the Gabon, the United States and China among others. As well as create critical public awareness, such actions send a clear message that wildlife crime will not be tolerated.”
Elephant poaching in Africa could lead to local extinctions if the present killing rates continue. According to the report Elephants in the Dust – The African Elephant Crisis (UNEP, CITES, IUCN and TRAFFIC, March 2013), criminal networks are responsible for the illegal trafficking of ivory between Africa and Asia, where demand is high. The report highlights the need to reduce demand for ivory, and recommends improving law enforcement across the entire illegal ivory supply chain, and increasing collaboration among transit and consumer countries through international organisations such as CITES, the UN Office for Drugs and Crime, Interpol and the World Bank.