Ivory trade has become a major business in the past and continues to be practiced today. Restrictions on the trade have been put in place but, these restrictions include loopholes and other conditions. Since 2002 theres been a 76% decline of the elephant population in central Africa. In 2011, poachers killed over 100,000 African elephants solely for their ivory. This continuously growing issue has sparked a larger change in many countries. Recently, a victory has been made for elephants in China, specifically, Hong Kong.
“Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Leung Chun-ying, announced plans to ban the domestic ivory trade during his 2016 Policy Address. The annual speech lays out the year’s policy agenda.” (Neme, Laurel. “Hong Kong’s Leader Says It Will Ban Ivory Trade.” National Geographic. 13 Jan. 2016. Web.) Prior action had been taken elsewhere. In 1989 Kenyan President, President Daniel arap Moi, burned 12 tons of ivory in hopes to turn people away from purchasing anything made with the material. This lead to the international ban on it’s trade.
In 1800 there were about 26 million elephants, today there are less than 1 million left. The growing popularity took a drastic toll on their population. By 1913 there were over 200 tons of ivory used in the U.S. annually; by then, the elephant population had decreased by 16 million.
The use of ivory is practically universal. It’s used in jewelry, pool balls, piano keys, and more. The issue is that it’s neither humane nor sustainable. An entire species is being wiped out because ignorant choices made in the past.
It’s no doubt that it’ll take time to inform others and stop all trade. The regulations surrounding the trade are complex.
“If you buy it, are you breaking the law? To answer that question you’ll need a lawyer, a scientist, and an art historian at your side. That’s how complicated ivory-sale restrictions are in the United States. The legality of a transaction depends on a preposterous number of variables…” (Brian Palmer. “Ivory Laws Are Full of Loopholes, but States Are Moving to Fix Them.” OnEarth, 09 Jan. 2015. Web.)
As a whole we must work together to push for stricter laws, spread awareness, and boycott these products. Government officials becoming more and more aware and concerned about poaching will aid in its universal ban on the cruel practice. It’s important to do what you can to help at all times; ivory is one of many animal products that’s inhumanely deprived. Learn more on how to help here and here!