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Illegal Ivory Trade Essay

1169 words - 5 pages

Hannah Jones

AP English P. 2

Research Paper

3/8/13
Illegal Ivory Trade
Extinction rates have jumped massively in the last few years from one to two species going extinct per year to currently up to ten disappearing off of the face of the Earth per year. This problem seems to be getting worse and worse every year. In Africa, the elephants are disappearing rapidly. With such a fast rate, scientists believe all elephants will be extinct by the year 2035. In the 1980s, there were over a million elephants in the population; today there are less than 470,000.
Illegal poaching seems to be the greatest cause of the loss of these animals because of the value that their ivory tusks have ...view middle of the document...

Public attention to this problem nearly stopped all deaths of the elephant, but since then attention has been less focused on them, so the rates have been rising greatly again. If more people learn about the illegal ivory trade and give the issue more attention and publicity from what is just on the internet, there is a chance that the deaths can be stopped like they did before.

“If the trend continues, there won't be any elephants except in fenced areas with a lot of enforcement to protect them,” said Wasser, the author of a paper in the August issue of Conservation Biology that contends elephants are on a course that could mean most remaining large groups will be extinct by 2035 unless renewed public pressure brings about heightened enforcement. Wasser continues saying, “Public support stopped the illegal trade back in 1989 and can do so again.”

The ban was enforced by the, “Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora,” known as CITES. They regulate trade of endangered threatened species. The group had tried once before to place a ban on ivory trade in 1975, but
Johnson 3
the ban was not enforced until 1989 when it was estimated that 90 percent of all “legal ivory”
was poached from elephants.
With today's technology, we can determine the location and elephant families that a piece of ivory came from. Making it easier to maximize law enforcement and protection in those areas, reffered to as “hot spots” by Wasser. Evidence gathered from recent ivory seizures show that the ivory is coming from targeted specific areas not over a broad geographic range.
Scientists can only determine where the ivory came from. It is very difficult to place a date on when the ivory was collected, and so many ivory dealers claim that their ivory was retrieved before the 1989 ban. If one of the most advanced wildlife forensics laboratories in the world (USFWS) has a hard time distinguishing differences in ivory, not being able to tell if it is legal or illegal, ivory trade cannot be accurately enforced, so therefore, thousands of ivory items enter the U.S. every year undetected.

“The work with DNA sampling allows us to focus law enforcement on poaching in hot spots. It forces countries to take more responsibility for what goes on...

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