Alarm raised over increased illegal ivory trade between Myanmar, China

October 3, 2018 9:10 am
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The report titled “Myanmar’s Growing Illegal Ivory Trade with China” recounts how Chinese visitors smuggle worked ivory from a border town with Myanmar with little concern of getting caught/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 3 – A new report by a conservationist group, Save the Elephants, has recorded increased amounts of ivory flowing into China from Myanmar at 63 per cent in three years.

The report titled “Myanmar’s Growing Illegal Ivory Trade with China” recounts how Chinese visitors smuggle worked ivory from a border town with Myanmar with little concern of getting caught.

The report by specialists Lucy Vigne and the late Esmond Martin reveals some five towns and cities with 51 shops openly displaying 14, 846 ivory items for sale.

Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Founder of Save the Elephants, has called for more collaboration among countries more so in intelligence gathering to curb the illegal trade.

Though poaching is a vice in Myanmar, Vigne says the country also provides an unchecked conduit for illegal African ivory carved in the region to be smuggled into China, in violation of international law.

“The authorities are not deterring ivory smugglers and trade in ivory and other endangered wildlife products that is running riot to meet continued Chinese demand,” says Vigne, the lead author of the report.

Traders reported that at least 90 per cent of buyers were Chinese wishing to smuggle the ivory home.

In Vietnam, it is estimated at 75 per cent.

On January 31, Hong Kong voted to ban ivory sales in a landmark move to end the infamous trade in the city.

The steps include a ban on trade in hunting trophies and ivory dating from after 1975 when a global treaty regulating the trade took effect.

It would later extend to ivory acquired before 1975 and finally, traders would have to dispose of their stock by 2021.

Poaching in Africa has seen the elephant population fell by 110,000 over the last 10 years to just 415,000, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Despite an overall fall in poaching, Africa’s elephant population has declined in part because of continued illegal killing, said a report last year by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

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