Wednesday, August 27, 2014


This phenomenon can be largely ascribed to China's nearly insatiable demand for ivory. Rising incomes have helped buoy demand for a product seen as a status marker. A huge amount of the ivory seized around the world was destined for China and Hong Kong, and though it is an imperfect measure, it indicates the degree to which the underground ivory market remains concentrated in China. Wittemyer and his researchers illustrate this phenomenon in a striking pair of graphics:

The spike in elephant mortality rates mirrors the rate at which elephants are illegally killed, but as Wittemyer and his colleagues note, the data also provides something of a puzzle: The rate of poaching slowed after their 2011 peak, though the price of ivory stayed high. It’s not entirely clear why. China has been taking measures to restrict the sale of ivory, but it is unclear the degree to which that has helped stem demand. Read More

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