The Wildlife Conservation Society has released a statement calling for the immediate closing of all ivory markets. Furthermore, the statement calls for all ivory stockpiles to be destroyed. They claim that the ivory market trade is filled with corruption. They also say that the lack of enforcement activities has left African elephants in extreme peril.
They say that the ivory markets that must close are operated in both Africa and around the world. According to Save the Elephant’s the largest ivory market is located in Lagos, Nigeria. Save the Elephants says that the second largest ivory market is located in Luanda, Angola, and that neither market seems to have any fear of authorities. According to the group, 15,000 elephants were killed at least 42 different sites in just one year. The group estimates that up to 25,000 elephants are illegally killed. According to Elizabeth Bennett, the level of corruption in the markets is so bad that closing them is the only option.
This announcement comes at a time when other groups are calling for a relaxation in the rules governing ivory trade. She says it is a simple a matter of economics where the profits from breaking the law simply outweighs the small amount of money that traders must pay for breaking the law. Much of this money is spent on bribes to buy government officials to look the other way.
One suggestion by the groups who would like to continue the trade is to employ more ecoguards. While there is a 70 percent decrease in poaching when ecoguards are in place, it is becoming impossible to find honest people to fill these jobs. Many people do not want the job because they fear being killed by the poachers.
On May 15, Hong Kong took steps to start destroying the government owned stockpile of ivory. This is a key development because Hong Kong held 29.6 tons of ivory. It is also a key transport hub for illegal ivory entering China. Nine other countries have taken similar measures, but these countries say it may take many years to complete the process.