By Tania McCrea-Steele
Earlier this month, we saw the first ever ivory trading conviction in New Zealand with 58 year old Jiezhen Jiang being charged under the Trade in Endangered Species Act and receiving a fine of 12,000 New Zealand dollars on the 10th of July.
Tragically tens of thousands of elephants are being massacred each year to fuel the demand for ivory and shockingly Jiang not only said he knew that elephants were being killed but also thought that purchasing these items would be a good investment as he believed they would increase in value.
Thankfully the efforts of international law enforcement agencies meant Jiang learnt the hard way that illegal trade in ivory comes with a high penalty.
Enforcement officers from New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC), Ministry for Primary Industries and New Zealand Customs Service and the UK’s National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU), Gloucestershire constabulary, and the UK Border Force were able to combine forces and uncover that Jiang was buying ivory items from England and Portugal while also selling on some items to people based in China.
Sadly this is another example of how the internet is being used to make money from the death of endangered species. Dylan Swain, from New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, was report as saying that “there is an increase in wildlife products on the internet, including ivory. […\ trading on the internet is so easy, people are often not aware of the regulations.”
This is something the International Fund for Animal Welfare has long recognised following our own repeated investigations into wildlife trafficking online. More....