Philly dude smuggles a gagillion pounds of elephant ivory »
You know I always cover the Philly beat but today I am not happy about it! This art dealer jerk smuggled a ton of ivory from Africa by staining it and carving it to appear antique. The 1975 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) made the trade of ivory illegal in the U.S. but apparently, you can still import and sell ivory that is over 100 years old. This is one of the largest seizures of ivory in U.S. history: “All told, agents of the federal Fish and Wildlife Service seized 491 carved tusks from Mr. Gordon.” Jesus Christmas, that’s SO MANY! And remember, elephants are endangered. Stone cold bummer.
Just goes to show you, you can’t trust anybody! So maybe we should tell everyone they shouldn’t buy any ivory because it might be new. Plus, tacky!
[Picture from the Department of Justice. Mad official, yo]
Ivory poaching, elephant murder on the increase in Africa »
Vanity Fair has a great big article about the increase in illegal ivory trade in Africa. It’s horrible. You should read it; I’m not going to recap the whole thing here. You can have some low-lights* first, though.
Across Africa, “roughly 100 elephants are being killed each day.” Profits from ivory sales fund terrifying rebel groups, just like jewel- and ore-mining. The biggest markets for ivory right now is in East Asia, in particular China, and the Middle East. When smuggled ivory is seized, its DNA is sequenced so authorities can tell where its elephant came from. From this, we’ve learned that the ivory trade has increased everywhere in Africa that Chinese workers are.
The best paragraph:
Obviously, no ivory should be sold, legally or illegally. It has to be taken off the table completely. You can’t keep feeding the demand and providing incentives to poor Africans to continue killing their elephants. That—and educating the Chinese—is the only hope for the remaining ones in the wild. All of Africa needs to follow the lead of Kenya, which burned its ivory stock in 1989. As he ignited the 12 tons of tusks, thus depriving the government of millions of dollars of revenue, in a huge conflagration that remains the single most important event in the history of the battle for the elephants, then president Daniel arap Moi declared, “To stop the poacher, the trader must also be stopped, and to stop the trader, the final buyer must be convinced not to buy ivory. I appeal to people all over the world to stop buying ivory.”
Zimbabwe wants to feed prisoners elephant. People go on safari to shoot elephants. Most elephants, though, are killed because drought and poverty combined with the big ivory market have made killing them one of the only ways to earn money. Elephants are goddamn mystical, and murdering them is a terrible act of inhumanity. Read this entire article, cry your eyes out, be glad you’re not so poor that you resort to ruining the world to feed yourself. Jesus.
*Like highlights, but depressing.
[photo by brittanyhock via flickr]