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U.K. is the world’s biggest exporter of legal ivory, data analysis shows

10 / 08 / 2017, Mongabaycom News

The United Kingdom ships more legal ivory beyond its borders than any other country, according to an analysis released today by the London-based NGO Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). The announcement comes two days before World Elephant Day on Saturday. Globally, elephant numbers are falling, down 30 percent between 2007 and 2014 — a decline driven largely by poaching to get ahold of elephants’ valuable tusks. The U.K. plays a “relatively minor” role in the trade of illegal ivory, said Shruti Suresh, a wildlife campaigner with EIA. But data from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) show that, between 2010 and 2015, the U.K. exported more than three-and-a-half times the number of pieces of ivory exported by the U.S., the next largest supplier. Through 2013, the U.S. had been a much more prominent player. But regulations by the U.S.  government aimed at tackling the national and international trade of ivory slowed the flow to Hong Kong and China to a trickle, down to just 17 items in 2015. The U.K. filled that void, largely with what is referred to as antique ivory that was presumably taken from elephants killed years ago, before Cites began controlling international trade. The U.K. primarily exports antique ivory, such as this carved tusk from the 11th century. Photo in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons “What was even more shocking was the destination of the ivory,” Suresh said in an interview. EIA found that, since 2014, the U.K.…

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