Europe must stop all trade in ivory

 Elephant ivory_©PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

Over recent weeks, much global attention has been given to China’s reversal of a 25-year-old ban on trading in rhino horn and tiger bone. Through a global outcry and pressure from conservation groups and the public, China, earlier this week, rescinded on their lifting of this ban. This can be heralded as a tremendous success that buys critical time to find long-term solutions to stop the illegal wildlife trade in rhino and tiger body parts. However, it is not only China that is creating immense problems for many of the globes species through wildlife crime.

Europe is currently still the largest domestic market for ivory products in the world and it has been clearly shown that vast quantities of illegally poached ivory often makes its way into this legal market. It is also a major transport point for many other illegal wildlife products that are shipped onto the Far East. In 2017, the European Commission banned the export of raw ivory and with backing from many African leaders and European politicians, there are now calls for a total ban on the European trade entirely. However and alarmingly, there seems to be resistance to implementing a total ban.

Just as pressure was placed onto China, so too must a global outcry be made against the current situation in Europe so that a total ban is put in place for ivory products and that tighter controls are implemented to prevent the European Union being as an illegal wildlife transport hub.

Elephants are social and sentient beings with extremely high levels of intelligence. Poaching is not only slaughtering many elephant on a daily basis but it is also leaving an entire population of broken and traumatized animals behind. The awe and respect that these magnificent animals awaken in us is also the backbone of Africa’s tourism industry, bringing much needed revenue and job creation to a continent where poverty is a reality. They are also the ecosystem engineers that critically help shape the health of the wilderness so that other species may thrive. We therefore need to realise the true value that elephants play in a delicately balanced and inter-dependent ecosystem.

Europe must stop ALL trade in ivory!