Ivory: Sell It Or Burn It?


Tusks ready for burning in Nairobi National Park, Kenya, April 29, 2016
Kenyan tusk stockpile: Nairobi National Park, Kenya

In 1979 the population of the African elephants was estimated to be 1.3 million. Over the following decade, events worldwide occurred that dramatically drove up the demand for ivory. Namely: improving economies and the resultant increased demand in Asian countries where ivory confers status. More recently, the recognition of the ease of obtaining raw ivory through poaching, and the value of that ivory which could be used to fund armies and terrorist activities, has led to the formation of Asian-based/African-run organized crime syndicates. These groups possess expensive and sophisticated arms and other equipment by which they can “slaughter and extract” ivory from whole herds very quickly.

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