By Kevin Heath
There are calls from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) for China to lose its status as an Approved Buyer of ivory stocks when they come to auction. The charity claims that China is unable to enforce its domestic legal ivory market and it is being used as a cover for poached ivory.
The call as the EIA release a new report entitled Blood Ivory: Exposing the myth of a regulated market. They claim that as much as 90% of ivory in China on the ‘legal’ market comes from poaching and is contributing to the loss of elephants in Africa.
China was awarded Approved Buyer status in July 2008. This enables them to purchase at auctions occasionally run to sell off stock piles of ivory. Since the ban of ivory trading in 1989 there has been two auctions in 1999 and 2008.
When China was given Approved Buyer status the country gave commitments that it would clean up its domestic market and stamp out the black market for ivory. China was then able to buy 60 tonnes of ivory at the November 2008 auction.
The report also raises concerns over evidence that the Chinese government made a hefty profit from the purchase of the ivory. The government bought the ivory at auction for $157 a kilo and then sold it on to traders at a cost of as much as $1500 a kilo.
Calls for immediate review of China domestic ivory market regulations. EIA Executive Director Mary Rice, speaking at the Wildlife Crimes meeting of the Environmental Audit Select Committee in Westminster, called for an immediate review of China’s regulations and enforcement by the UK and European Union.
Rice also called for the acknowledgement that the permitted trade of stockpiled ivory under the CITES treaty has been devastating for the African elephant – 2011 was the worst year for poaching since the ban came into place in 1989. More....