Comment: the proponents of the ivory trade are eerily quiet today

The New York Times today featured an opinion piece titled “Ivory Poachers and Their Enablers”. 

Whilst the editorial might make you think of the bad guys first, the article points to the sad truth that ordinary citizens around the world are also contributing to the death of elephants. 

The amount of ivory floating around the world is huge and efforts to stop the illegal trade in ivory face new hurdles every day. 

Thai officials just today announced another half tonne of ivory was seized in Bangkok.  We don’t yet know if the ivory was meant to stay in Thailand or make its way to China, a country where ivory is now being referred to as “white gold”.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare is most concerned with protecting the lives of elephants and to the degree that illegal and legal trade of ivory imperils elephants we believe that more must be done to stop poaching and to reduce demand for ivory. 

Stopping sales of ivory alone will not make elephants safe. 

The combined approach of stopping poaching through greater assistance to rangers on the ground, protecting elephant habitat whilst working to educate consumers that their seemingly insatiable demand for ivory will lead to the killing of elephants is the only way we have a chance of protecting elephants. 

Protecting the lives of elephants is our goal.

The airlines that ship the illegal cargos of ivory need to wake up as well and IFAW will be reaching out to them to insist that they improve their scrutiny of shipments coming from Africa to points east. 

The voices that we have previously heard proclaim that the ivory trade is safe, under-control, and a great way to fund conservation are eerily quiet today.


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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Elsayed Ahmed Mohamed, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
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Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
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Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
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Pauline Verheij, Program Manager, Wildlife Crime
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Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
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Country Representative, Germany
Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
Director, EU Office
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy