27 October 2008

Kenya: Ivory Goods Ban to Curb Poaching

Nairobi — Poaching in Kenya is set to decline significantly after the largest Internet market that deals in ivory products announced plans to institute a global ban.

The biggest commercial web site, eBay, has announced that it will ban the sale of ivory products, and is calling on other Internet traders to follow their example.

This comes barely two months after the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) relaxed the global ban on trade in ivory by allowing China to join Japan in importing government ivory stocks from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

On the day the ban was relaxed, three Chinese citizens were arrested in Nairobi with 2.2 kilogrammes of illegal ivory.

The three were arrested at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as they prepared to board a plane for Zimbabwe. Every year, more than 20,000 elephants are illegally killed in Africa and Asia to meet demand for ivory goods.

African and Asian elephants are protected under the US Endangered Species Act and Cites regulations.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) praised the decision by eBay just hours before the release of the organisation's latest investigative report on Monday.

According to the report, Internet trade in wildlife poses a threat to the survival of elephants and many other endangered species.


The Ifaw report, based on a six-week investigation that tracked more than 7,000 wildlife product listings on 183 web sites in 11 countries, singled out eBay as the largest contributor to the problem, responsible for almost two-thirds of the online trade in wildlife products worldwide.

The report shows that more than 70 per cent of all endangered species' products listed for sale on the Internet occur in the United States.

Elephant ivory dominated the investigation, comprising 73 per cent of all product listings tracked.

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