Proposed Regulations on Ivory Trade

In the paper, “Decision-Making Mechanisms and Necessary Conditions for a Future Trade in African Elephant Ivory” (2012) suggests creating a centralized system in Africa (CISO) to sell ivory seized from poachers or from elephants that die from natural causes.

Central Ivory Selling Organization (CISO) 

  • Develops direct links between producers and consumers of ivory to establish the shortest possible market chain.
  • Provide additional incentives for land owners to conserve elephants and their habitats.
  • Ivory will be derived from natural mortality and animals killed to control human-wildlife conflict. Elephants will not be harvested to produce ivory.
  • These conditions that are advantageous for a legal trade, will reduce the illegal killing of elephants.

Arguments For the Legalization of Ivory Trade

Many arguments for the legalization of ivory trade suggest it will:

  • Create revenue that could be put towards elephant conservation.
    – Some organizations in Africa with a well-established elephant conservation program were against the ban on the international ivory trade, they argued that a total ban on selling confiscated ivory would hurt their abilities to fund conservation.
  • Lower prices of legal ivory would decrease the market rate and will provide lower incentives for poaching.

Arguments Against the Legalization of Ivory Trade

  • Lowering price of ivory will not prevent poachers, instead more focus should be on enforcing the laws.
    – Since most of the poaching is done by illegal gangs, many people believe that legalization of ivory stocks will only temporarily stop the poachers. The only way to truly stop these organizations is to spend more time on stronger enforcement.
  • Should focus on educating consumers
    – A survey by the International Fund for Animal Welfare did a survey and found that 70% of Chinese consumers did not know that elephants were killed for ivory and some people thought elephants lose tusks the way people lose teeth.
  • Focus on closing down domestic (national) markets

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