Science Articles

A LEGAL IVORY TRADE WON’T STOP THE KILLING OF ELEPHANTS

A new study has found that the demand for ivory has exceeded the supply amount. Even if the ivory trade is made legal, the elephants won’t be saved. Researchers collected data from Amboseli and Kenya elephants to investigate how many elephants would be killed for the ivory trade before the elephant population is affected.


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A new study has found that the demand for ivory has exceeded the supply amount. Even if the ivory trade is made legal, the elephants won’t be saved. Researchers collected data from Amboseli and Kenya elephants to investigate how many elephants would be killed for the ivory trade before the elephant population is affected.

THE STUDY

A new study stated that if the ivory trade is made legal, the elephants would become extinct at a faster rate. The amount of sustainably harvested ivory is far lesser than the demand for it. According to the authors, it is simply impossible to produce ivory in a controlled manner without making the elephants extinct.

 

The African elephants grow and reproduce at a very slow rate and hence the ivory produced by them is insufficient to be used in trade, jewellery and even carvings. This new study has found itself to be a topic of debate in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). In 1980s, CITES had banned ivory trade because of the reducing population of elephants. This was contested by the Southern African nations since they had a lot of elephants. But presently, the elephant population has already been greatly reduced by the poachers for the ivory. This gives a clear indication that ivory trade cannot be legalised or else there can be really bad results.

THE OBSERVATIONS

More than 27,000 elephants are killed every year by the poachers for the ivory in Asia alone. The figures become staggering in other countries even. The illegal ivory trade has greatly increased and would increase further if the ivory trade gets legalised since the legal trade would cover up the illegal trade.

 

Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia wanted to legalise the ivory trade. 220 to 330 pounds of ivory can be produced sustainably every year but the amount of illegal ivory obtained is 900 to 1300 pounds.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The natural deaths of elephants, culls and even stockpiles can only cover a part of the required ivory. For meeting the demands, the ivory is obtained from the hunted elephants only. The legalisation would increase the demand for ivory which would further boost up poaching.

The main problem stems from the illegal trade, poaching and hunting due to ivory needs. Once the adult elephants are killed off, poachers would simply kill off young elephants for ivory.

 

Legalising the ivory trade would provide a green signal to the poachers for hunting more and cover up their tracks with the legal aspect. The ban should be maintained and not contested.