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ivory sale

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  • jonathonwithano
    Group says illegal ivory easy to get online despite longtime trade ban AP Graphic US IVORY TRADE By Joseph B. Verrengia AP Science Writer Online sales of
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 24, 2004
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      Group says illegal ivory easy to get online despite longtime trade
      ban
      AP Graphic US IVORY TRADE
      By Joseph B. Verrengia
      AP Science Writer
      Online sales of illegal ivory are booming in the United States
      despite a longtime global trade ban, conservationists charge.
      In a practice that goes virtually unchecked, a new analysis
      suggests customers are buying, with a mouse-click, what
      appear to be illegal new ivory trinkets by thousands.
      The sale of most new ivory was banned in 1989 to curb the
      slaughter of elephants in Africa. The ban has been instrumental
      in the species' recovery in several nations. Consumers still can
      legally buy items like chess sets and cutlery fashioned from
      antique ivory as long as the sales are accompanied by permits
      and certification documents.
      Americans have the world's biggest appetite for ivory, along with
      the Japanese and Europeans. And a new, burgeoning clientele
      has conservationists especially worried — the rising middle
      class in China.
      Investigators for TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network,
      say they found more than 1,000 ivory items advertised each
      week on eBay and other auction Web sites. More than one-third
      of the merchandise specifically was described as elephant ivory.
      Few pieces carry even a pretense of documentation, they said.
      Officials with eBay said they were aware of the report, but had no
      immediate comment.
      Most of the ivory items were carved in China, investigators said,
      but they are being shipped to the United States through as many
      as 80 different countries.
      The report by the wildlife group — described as the first of its
      kind since the ivory trade ban was adopted — also shows that
      U.S. customs agents seized more than 8,300 ivory items at
      airport and border checkpoints in a seven-year period ending in
      2002. Most were cheap souvenirs bought by tourists who said
      they were unaware of the trade ban.
      Conservationists calculate that, based on the number of items
      seized and sold, as many as 4,000 elephants, hippos and other
      ivory-bearing animals are being killed each year for their tusks.
      They said U.S. law enforcement was doing a "good job despite
      limited resources" of spotting illegal imports through
      conventional channels. However, they said the new online
      markets were operating with "little oversight."
      "Over the past 10 years, there has been a huge explosion in
      online vendors," said Simon Habel, director of TRAFFIC, the
      trade monitoring network supported by the World Wildlife Fund
      and other groups.
      "When we posed online as potential buyers, ivory sellers in
      Shanghai and Guangzhou assured us that getting ivory into the
      United States would be no problem," Habel said.
      The report was issued in anticipation of next week's meeting in
      Bangkok of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered
      Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, or CITES.
      Before the ivory trade ban, poachers were slaughtering 100,000
      elephants a year and threatening the species' existence in
      Kenya and other African nations.
      In its report, the wildlife group examined 1995-2002 seizure data
      from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal
      agencies. They also did Internet searches February through May
      with online ivory sellers, posing online as potential buyers. They
      stopped short of buying illegal ivory items.
      They also interviewed customers who bought ivory online and
      later claimed they were unaware of the trade ban.
      "You could have extensive e-mail conversations and get a good
      feel for what's going on," Habel said. "The vendors would tell us,
      'Don't worry, we can get a product in by labeling it as a bone
      carving. If it gets seized, we'll just send you another one."'
      Habel said TRAFFIC shared its results with law enforcement
      agencies and eBay.
    • bobutne
      http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/09/0930_040930_bushmeat2. html
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 2, 2004
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