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June 10, 2013

Conviction of Ivory Smugglers Shows Strong Anti-Poaching Stance

In letter, animal groups urge continued vigilance by Chinese authorities

Humane Society International

  • In addition to the threat of poaching for the ivory trade, elephants in Africa and Asia also face challenges such as habitat loss and human-elephant conflict. Alain Pons/Photo Alto

Animal groups sent a letter to Chinese customs officials thanking them for intercepting a massive amount of ivory smuggled from Africa—7.7 tonnes—and for the subsequent conviction of three men receiving jail sentences of between seven and 15 years. The animal groups also recommend ways China can end the illegal trade of ivory from Africa.

“African and Asian elephants are in crisis and dying every day at the hands of brutal poachers. China is a major consumer of illegal ivory and must strengthen enforcement to address the upsurge in elephant poaching,” said Teresa Telecky, Ph.D., director of wildlife for Humane Society International. “We applaud the authorities’ vigilance, which signifies China’s commitment to ending the illegal ivory trade, but more must be done to stop illegal ivory trafficking.”

Other organizations that signed the letter in addition to HSI include Animals Asia Foundation, ACRES, Blue Cross of India, Earth Island Institute, Philippine Animal Welfare Society, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Hong Kong Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The letter, addressed to China’s customs minister, was copied to the Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and CITES officials with China’s State Forestry Administration.

In 2011, the amount of seized ivory reached a staggering 46.5 tonnes, exceeding the previous worst record of 32.7 tonnes in 2009. Elephants in Africa and Asia also face threats such as habitat loss and human-elephant conflict.

The groups call on Chinese customs authorities to strengthen inspection of imports from Africa, particularly from elephant range countries, and to penalize businesses that mislabel banned imports. Officials should also encourage China’s remaining ivory carving businesses to switch to using synthetic materials.

ENDS

U.S. Media Contact: Rebecca Basu, +1-240-753-4875, rbasu@humanesociety.org

Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide—on the Web at hsi.org.

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