News

UNEP, CITES and Others Applaud China’s Destruction of Ivory Stockpiles

Destruction of Ivory Stockpiles6 January 2014: China, during a public ceremony held in Dongguan, destroyed 6.15 tonnes of seized elephant ivory accumulated through enforcement actions, indicating its commitment to address elephant poaching and illegal ivory trade. The UN Environment Programme, (UNEP), the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and TRAFFIC have lauded the event, the first of its kind in China.

Regarding the event, Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP, noted that, "We have also seen the destruction of ivory stockpiles across range, transit and demand states: in the Philippines, the Gabon, the US and China among others. As well as creating critical public awareness, such actions send a clear message that wildlife crime will not be tolerated." Speaking at the event, John Scanlon, Secretary-General, CITES, noted outcomes on wildlife crime from the CITES Conference of the Parties (COP 16) highlighted recent efforts to address the issue, and noted the clear evidence that, "illegal elephant ivory trade is increasingly being recognized by States as a serious crime."

According to TRAFFIC, bias adjusted Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) data indicates that illicit trade in ivory rose in 2011 to the highest levels in at least 16 years. According to the UN report, 'Elephants in the Dust,' over 17,000 elephants were illegally killed in monitored sites in 2011, with preliminary data suggesting that even higher levels of illicit trade may have been reached in 2013. [WWF Traffic Press Release] [CITES News] [UNEP Press Release][IISD RS story on publication 'Elephants in the Dust']