The jumbo: Prized Ivory Still its Curse

A latest conservation study notes 681 of 701 elephant tusks sold in the US in 2007, came from Africa. The Study titled Ivory Markets in the US by conservationists Esmond Martin and Daniel Stiles say the quantity could be higher as it is difficult to track down the movement of ivory from Africa. Zimbabwe took the lead followed by Tanzania, South Africa and Botswana.

“Tusks from Africa are first sent to a third country; tracking the movement is very difficult,” says the report. This is the latest published data since the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) conference in The Hague, The Netherlands, allowed the Southern African elephant range states a one-off sale of their ivory stockpiles in 2007.

The partial downgrading of the elephant from the category of species threatened with extinction is perceived to have triggered an upsurge in poaching. However, going by recent developments in Kenya, the threat against the Jumbo’s does not stop there.

According to Kenya Government records, regions where Chinese contractors are building roads are prone to poaching. The Chinese embassy in Kenya complained of perceived ethnic profiling of their nationals following information by wildlife authorities in Kenya estimating that foreign contractors killed 80 elephants last year. Apart from China, other Ivory leading markets in the world include Japan and the US.

The upsurge in poaching is also blamed on lax surveillance and porous borders with Tanzania. “We have difficulties in protecting our wildlife species, especially the elephant and the rhino. Tanzania lacks the equipment and technical know-how to track their stocks. They are also indifferent to appeals for joint operations in game parks to keep poachers off. They believe their elephant stocks are stable, but their rhino numbers have declined to less than 40, which speaks volumes about the level surveillance,” a Kenya wildlife security officer, who declined to be identified, said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *