Ivory from recently slaughtered elephants is being illegally sold across Europe, fuelling the extinction crisis, a study has found.
The British public overwhelmingly supports a ban on ivory sales, with a majority urging ministers to allow no exemptions to the proposed prohibition of the trade, according to a new poll.
The survey, carried out by Kantar TNS and commissioned by a group of nine NGOs, found that 85 per cent of the public support a ban on the sales.
Current UK laws allow the trade of “antiques”, carved before 1947, but the Government in October bowed to pressure by campaigners to ban the sale of ivory regardless of its age.
Ecologists in Myanmar spend hours and hours fighting through thick vines, forest and bamboo just to find a single Asian elephant. Now, they’re also racing against poachers.
Over the last three to four years, poachers have begun taking the elephant’s skin and turning it into ruby red jewelry. The skin is also ground into powder and sold as medicine, according to separate investigations conducted by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Elephant Family, a conservation watchdog in the UK.
It was the smell that put off the men and women charged with converting the subcutaneous fat from freshly slaughtered elephants into ruby red beads. It was noxious. Acrid. The fumes were stomach-churning as the workers in China spent hours curing then polishing translucent beads of fat that often didn’t retain their shape.
One trader told investigators with Elephant Family, a conservation watchdog based in London, England, that it took him an entire day to produce one bead.
Elephant poaching made national news last year after Kerala’s forest department seized a total of 464 kg of ivory artefacts, making it one of the India’s biggest-ever ivory hauls. The massive mission, “Operation Shikaar”, involved the seizing of items — roughly estimated to be worth over Rs 13 crore in the international black market — from the custody of a Delhi businessman named Umesh Agarwal.