Snow leopard skin seized in Palmar of Jammu, India, western Himalaya

Based on villagers’ information on the smuggling of parts of wild animals by a group of smugglers, the police launched a manhunt in Palmar of Jammu, western Himalaya and confiscated a snow leopard from the arrested person.

6 November 2011

Asian Officials Extend Lifeline For Wild Tigers (mentions use of snow leopard skins towards the end of the article)

Katie Hamann | Denpasar, Bali 14 July 2010: VOA News

Countries Work on Agreement to Save Tigers

Wild tigers have been offered a lifeline by countries where they still roam. The countries have agreed to work together to double the tiger population within 12 years. Officials from 13 countries gathered in Bali agreed to increase law enforcement to protect the tigers and preserve their habitats across Asia.

A Sumatran tiger roars in protest at his captors from the Indonesian forestry department. The animal had rampaged through villages and palm oil plantations in search of food, killing four farmers. After months in captivity, the cat was released into a Sumatran national park.

In an ongoing battle for territory between humans and wild tigers, tigers are the biggest losers. Rapidly shrinking habitats and poaching are decimating their populations.

The World Wildlife Fund estimates the number of wild tigers has declined by 40 percent in the past decade, to about 3,200 animals with only 1,000 actively breeding females.

In an effort to arrest this slide into extinction, leaders from 13 tiger nations gathered this week in Bali to draft a declaration on conservation, as part of the Global Tiger Recovery Program. The program is led by the World Bank and a coalition of international non-profit organizations. The centerpiece of the nations’ commitment is an ambitious plan to double the number of wild tigers by 2022.

Underscoring the immensity of this challenge, several countries said the goal is unrealistic.

Indian delegation leader S. P. Yadav says his country will focus on stabilizing tiger numbers in existing conservation areas.

“We are the largest, tiger-range country,” said S. P. Yadav. “We have around 1,500 tigers in the wild; so almost 50 percent of tigers are in India. We have identified 39 tiger reserves, covering an area of around 32,000 square kilometers. Within this number of tigers and the area, we are facing the problem of tiger-man conflict, and in some areas, it is a very serious issue. So there is very little scope in further enhancing the area to accommodate more tigers in our country.”

The Wildlife Conservation Societies’ vice president for conservation and science, John Robinson, says is it possible to double the number of tigers as planned.

“Within protected areas we could increase overall tiger numbers probably by 50 to 60 percent, and the tigers within those protected areas would still not reach the carrying capacity of that habitat,” said John Robinson. “And that gives an ability to bring these numbers back rather dramatically. Across broader tiger landscapes, if protection was put into place, if we could control the illegal hunting, we could bring back very significant tiger numbers”

Conservationists agree poaching presents the greatest threat to tiger populations. Poaching and the international trade in tigers and tiger parts is increasing across the region.

John Sellers heads the enforcement office of the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES.

“I think if you had looked at this area 10 to 15 years ago, you would have found that a lot of the demand was taking place amongst Asian ethnic communities in either North America and Europe,” said John Sellers. “That really has disappeared now. Instead, I think the market is now amongst the wealthy in parts of Asia, particularly China, where they have the money to pay for the genuine article. There are undoubtedly practitioners with the contacts to acquire this. I remember speaking to a practitioner in Thailand a few years ago who told me he had traveled to the border with Myanmar in order to purchase genuine tiger bones.”

The sale of tiger parts is prohibited in most tiger countries and the penalty for poachers in China is death. But law enforcement within countries and across national boundaries remains weak and disorganized.

In recent years new markets for tiger products have emerged. Some animal parks in China openly sell tiger bone wine, just one product spurring the establishment of tiger-breeding farms.

John Sellers says in some parts of China and Tibet a revival of old traditions is driving the market for tiger pelts.

“From what I understand in Tibet, it was traditional for warriors who had been brave in battle to be presented with a small piece of animal skin, such as a tiger or leopard – a snow leopard – just as the way a soldier would be in the West might be presented with a medal,” he said. “And so what had been a traditional practice using small parts of skin, then just grew into this situation where they began to build huge panels of tiger and leopard skin into these chubas, the traditional jackets that the local communities wear there.”

Early estimates suggest the cost of implementing the global tiger project will be more than $350 million, and more if the target of doubling tiger numbers within 12 years is to be met.

World Bank Global Tiger Initiative Director, Keshav Varma, says tiger nations have some capacity for funding tiger conservation, but wealthy nations will have to contribute.

“This sector is extremely poorly resourced,” said Keshav Varma. “It does not have money for minimum sustainable management. So we need more resources. And I think this is again an opportunity for global leaders to really understand the value of ecosystems.”

Included in the draft declaration was a commitment from tiger countries to collaborate and coordinate efforts to protect tigers and their habitats across national boundaries and to improve enforcement of anti-poaching and trafficking laws.

The Bali meeting’s draft declaration will be presented to government leaders for ratification at a September summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.

China arrests two Mongolians for smuggling snow leopard skins

Beijing 27 April 2010 – Chinese police arrested two Mongolian citizens after finding two snow leopard skins and a snow leopard skull hidden inside their jeep at a border checkpoint, state media said Tuesday.

Police in the remote Alxa League of north China’s Inner Mongolia region spent 10 hours searching the vehicle that had more than 40 hidden compartments, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The smuggled skins and skull had an estimated value of more than 200,000 yuan (29,000 dollars) on the black market, the agency quoted Zhao Jun, an anti-smuggling officer from the regional capital, as saying.

Experts say snow leopard skins from Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan are often smuggled across the borders to be sold in China or abroad.

Only about 6,000 snow leopards are believed to remain in the wild in 12 central and southern Asian nations, according to international wildlife protection groups.

Last month, a court in China’s far western region of Xinjiang – which borders Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan – sentenced two herdsmen to long prison terms after they were convicted of trapping and killing a snow leopard.

In a major case in 2007 in Gansu province, between Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang, police seized a record 27 snow leopard skins when they investigated a report of illegal trading in endangered animal parts.,china-arrests-two-mongoli

Bones, skin of snow leopard seized in Dibrugarh, India

Bones, skin of snow leopard seized


DIBRUGARH, April 1 – Five kilograms of bones and a fur-covered body skin of a highly-endangered Himalayan snow leopard was seized from one Sanjib Jalan from the heart of the city on March 27.
The police led by additional SP Debashish Sharma reportedly caught Jalan redhanded while he was striking the deal with one Ranjan Tasa in a furniture shop, close to Sadar police station. Police arrested the duo and further investigation is on.

Police is yet to find out how the skin and the bones reached the city, as these rare, beautiful snow leopards are reportedly not found in any parts of the northeastern region. They are traced to the mountains of central Asia.

In India, they are found in the snowy Himalayan region. These animals are insulated by thick hair, and their wide, fur-covered feet act as natural snowshoes. These endangered cats appear to be in declining because of the demand of their fur, skin. Besides, illegal traders look for these animals as its body parts are reportedly used for traditional Chinese medicines.

Illegal Wildlife Trade Flowing Through Porous China-Myanmar Border

World Sentinel: Newswire Services
March 21, 2010

Washington, DC — Porous borders are allowing vendors in Myanmar to offer a door-to-door delivery service for illegal wildlife products such as tiger bone wine to buyers in China, according to a new report from TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.

The State of Wildlife Trade in China 2008 is the third in an annual series on emerging trends in China´s wildlife trade.

The report found that over-exploitation of wildlife for trade has affected many species and is stimulating illegal trade across China´s borders.

“China´s remote border areas have long been considered a hotbed for illegal wildlife trafficking and surveillance is difficult in these sparsely populated areas,” said Professor Xu Hongfa, Director of TRAFFIC – China

The illegal trade in Asian big cat products is a key issue at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting.

The meeting is taking place in Doha, Qatar, where 175 countries will vote on measures that, if properly enforced, can end illegal tiger trade for good. Tigers are especially in the spotlight during this Year of the Tiger in the Chinese lunar calendar.

“TRAFFIC and WWF are encouraging CITES Parties to enforce the law effectively in their own countries in order to end all illegal trade,” said Colman O´Criodain, Wildlife Trade Analyst at WWF International.

Tiger and leopard parts were also found openly for sale in western China, although market surveys in 18 cities found just two places where such items were encountered. One of them—Bei Da Jie Market in Linxia city—has a history of trading in tiger products. Five surveys between late 2007 and 2008 found one tiger, 15 leopard skins and seven snow leopard skins for sale in this market.

“There is clearly ongoing demand for leopard and tiger products, but the trade appears to be becoming less visible year-on-year,” said Professor Xu, adding that it is unclear if it is because there is less trade in such products or it has become more covert and organized.

The report also examines the trade of other wildlife species in China. In southern China, TRAFFIC identified 26 species of freshwater turtles for sale. The majority of animals were claimed by vendors to be supplied from freshwater turtle farms—many of which do not practice closed-cycle captive breeding and therefore rely on wild-sourced breeding stock.

“If no action is taken, sourcing from the wild coupled with increased captive production to meet an expanding market demand will pose a serious threat to wild species through unsustainable harvesting from wild populations in China and beyond,” said Professor Xu.

The report also highlights research into the legality of timber imported into China from source countries in Africa and South-East Asia, noting up to 30% discrepancies between reported import and export timber volumes.

Other topics covered include sustainable utilization of traditional medicinal plants, analysis of wildlife trade information, the Corallium trade in East Asia, tackling cross-border illegal wildlife trade on the China-Nepal border, and stopping illegal wildlife trade online.
The American Chronicle, California Chronicle, Los Angeles Chronicle, World Sentinel, and affiliates are online magazines for national, international, state, and local news. We also provide opinion and feature articles. We have over 5,000 contributors, over 100,000 articles, and over 11 million visitors annually.

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Myanmar a gateway for wildlife trade to China: report

(AFP) – 11 hours ago
15 March 2010

DOHA — Demand in China is stoking a black market in neighbouring Myanmar in tiger-bone wine, leopard skins, bear bile and other products made from endangered species, a report released on Tuesday said.

“China’s border areas have long been considered a hotbed for illegal trade, with remote locations often making surveillance difficult in sparsely populated areas,” Xu Hongfa, top China investigator for environmental group TRAFFIC, said in the report.

Enforcement efforts within China appear to have curtailed the open sale of many animal parts and products taken from species banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), he said.

Market surveys in 18 Western Chinese cities in 2008 found only two sites where tiger and snow leopard skins were on sale, far less than in previous years, said Xu.

But transactions may have simply moved underground and onto the Internet, and Myanmar has emerged as a fast-growing supply node.

“There is clearly ongoing demand for leopard and tiger products, but the trade appears to be becoming less visible year-on-year,” Xu said.

“The current trade is more covert, organised and insidious, making it harder to detect and crack down on.”

TRAFFIC said that in December 2008, its investigators checked three markets on the Chinese side of the border in Yunnan Province, and one in Mongla, a town in Special Region 4 of Myanmar’s Eastern Shan state.

Markets on the Chinese side were legal, but one and a half kilometres (a mile) across the border they found a grim range of wildlife products sold by Chinese merchants.

These included a clouded leopard skin, pieces of elephant skin, batches of bear bile extracted from live animals, a dead silver pheasant, a monitor lizard and a bear paw, which is considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine.

Nearby, another shop specialised in “tiger-bone wine” costing 88 dollars (64 euros) for a small bottle.

The shop owner said buyers were mostly Chinese tourists, and customers could order the supposedly health-boosting tonic by phone for delivery to Daluo, a river-port town in China.

Like China, Myanmar also had national laws forbidding trade in endangered species.

“But enforcement is non-existent in Special Region 4 as it is an autonomous state… controlled by the National Democratic Alliance Army,” a rebel group, said Xu Ling, the China programme officer for TRAFFIC, who did the survey.

The 175-member CITES, meeting in Qatar’s capital Doha until March 25, will review measures to boost enforcement of wildlife bans already in place, as well as proposals to halt or limit commerce in species not yet covered by the Convention.

Copyright © 2010 AFP.

Villagers in Badakhshan, Afghanistan trapped snow leopard for sale but will be released once cat has recovered

Afghanistan protects newly rediscovered rare bird
By KAY JOHNSON (AP) – 1 day ago
KABUL — Afghanistan’s fledging conservation agency moved Sunday to protect one of the world’s rarest birds after the species was rediscovered in the war-ravaged country’s northeast.
The remote Pamir Mountains are the only known breeding area of the large-billed reed warbler, a species so elusive that it had been documented only twice before in more than a century.
A researcher with the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society stumbled upon the tiny, olive-brown bird during a wildlife survey in 2008 and taped its distinctive song. Later, a research team caught and released 20 of the birds — the largest number ever recorded.
On Sunday, Afghanistan‘s National Environment Protection Agency added the large-billed reed warbler to its list of protected species, which was established only last year.
Mustafa Zahir, the agency’s director-general, acknowledged the difficulties of trying to protect wildlife in a country preoccupied with the Taliban insurgency. On Friday, suicide attackers killed 16 people in Kabul, the capital, and thousands of Afghan and NATO forces are fighting to root out the hard-line Islamists from their southern stronghold.
But Zahir, who is the grandson of Afghanistan‘s former king, said the discovery of the large-billed reed warbler provided some welcome positive news.“It is not true that our country is full of only bad stories,” Zahir said. “This bird, after so many years, has been discovered here. Everyone thought it was extinct.”
The bird’s discovery in Afghanistan kicked off a small flurry in conservation circles.
The large-billed reed warbler was first documented in India in 1867 but wasn’t found again until 2006 — with a single bird in Thailand. The Pamir Mountains, in the sparsely populated Badakhshan province near China, is now home to the world’s only known large population of the bird.The Afghan environmental agency also added 14 other species to the protected list on Sunday. It now includes 48 species including the rare snow leopard, the Asiatic cheetah and the markhor, a type of wild goat with large spiral horns.
While conservation efforts are in their infancy in Afghanistan, there have been some recent successes. Authorities in Badakhshan last week seized a snow leopard from villagers who had trapped it and planned to sell it. The snow leopard — one of an estimated 150 left in the wild — will be freed once its injuries from the trap are healed, Zahir said.Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Decades of Thriving Wildlife Trade Have Decimated Populations

Written by B.Bulgamaa Tuesday, April 21, 2009. The number of animals which can be legally hunted for a special payment in 2010 was approved during cabinet meeting on Thursday.

Over the next year 50 male wild sheep, 200 male wild rocky mountain goats, 50 antelopes, 80 gazelle, 60 gray wolves, 200 birds and 240 saker falcon can legally be hunted or captured.

Those animals will be hunted exclusively by foreign hunters next year who will pay a fee to the government. The price, which is regulated by law, depends on the type of animal hunted.

Hunters from Arabian countries tend to have more interest in taking saker falcon alive and bringing them back to the Middle East. The price for one of these birds is set at US$ 12,000.

According to the census of the Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism, Mongolia has 12,000-15,000 female wild sheep, 25,000-30,000 female wild goats, one million white gazelle, 50,000 antelopes, 30,000 gray wolves and 6,500 saker falcons.

Four percent of them could be used for hunting, based on management to protect nature and the environment, explained the representatives from the ministry.
2005-2008 state hunting revenues were Tg 13.8 billion, according to information from the ministry.

From 1926-1985 Mongolia was delivering 119 million furs, 13 million kilograms of game meat, 1.5 million tons of elk antlers and trading as many as 3.5 million animals to Russia in a single year.

Since 1990 the border with China has been open and this has caused the wild animal change its roots.
According to the World Bank report named “Silent Steppe”, which was completed in 2004, the population of Mongolia’s subspecies of saiga antelope catastrophically declined from over 5,000 to less than 800, an 85 percent drop, from 2000-2005.

The driving force behind this collapse is the lucrative Chinese medicinal market for saiga horn. Red deer have also declined catastrophically across Mongolia. According to a 1986 government assessment, the population size at that time was approximately 130,000 deer inhabiting 115,000 square km. The most recent population assessment in 2004 showed that only about 8,000 to 10,000 red deer now inhabit Mongolia’s 15 aimags. This is a 92 percent decline in only 18 years. Government figures estimated 50,000 argali in Mongolia in 1975, but only 13,000 to 15,000 in 2001 (Amgalanbaatar et al. 2002). This is a 75 percent decline in just 16 years.

Marmot once numbered more than 40 million, dropping to around 20 million by 1990 and were last tallied in 2002 at around 5 million; a decline of 75 percent in only 12 years (Batbold 2002). Finally, saker falcons have started a similarly precipitous decline, dropping from an estimated 3,000 breeding pairs in 1999 to 2,200 pairs, losing 30 percent of the population in just 5 years (Shagdarsuren 2001).

Trade in medicinal products has increased both on the domestic and international market. The primary trading partner is China, but several interviewees reported selling large volumes to Koreans as well.

International buyers are looking primarily for brown bear gall bladder, saiga antelope horns, wolf parts of all types (including tongue, spleen, ankle bones, and teeth), musk deer (Moschus moschiferus) glands, red deer shed and blood antlers, genitals, tails, and fetuses, and snow leopard bones. The domestic medicinal market includes marmot, wolf, corsac fox, badger, sable, brown bear, muskrat, roe deer, musk deer, snow leopard, Pallas’ cat, Daurian hedgehog, Daurian partridge, Altai snowcock, and northern raven. Trade in game meat, other than fish, appears to be limited to the domestic market for the moment. Mongolian gazelle meat was once traded to China, but that trade has apparently stopped with the recent banning of commercial harvests in Mongolia and the closure of game processing plants in China.

Mongolia also supplied large quantities of fish to markets in Russia in the early 1990s, but a change in supply routes and higher prices paid in China have caused trade to shift primarily to China, although trade continues to some degree with Russia.

Even though international game meat trade has slowed or even stopped, the domestic market is thriving and by itself represents a significant and continuing threat to wildlife populations. The domestic market therefore deserves serious management and regulatory attention.
Since 2006 Mongolia’s government has prohibited the hunting of marmots, a ban which continues. The lack of a marmot census has made it impossible to tell, however, whether it has had an effect.

Before prohibiting the hunting of marmot, game meat was available in local markets. Siberian and Altai marmot, Mongolian gazelle, roe deer, moose, Altai snowcock, several species of fish, and, in some areas, Asiatic wild ass were all on offer.

The Ministry of Nature and Environment actively promotes trophy hunting and has set special rates ranging from US$100 for red fox to as much as US$25,000 for Altai argali, according to the report which was made 2004. Reinvesting a percentage of these fees in the conservation of the resource (required by the Law on Reinvestment of Natural Resource Use Fees) has the potential to provide significant funding for wildlife management. However, government finance regulations and a lack of community benefit from trophy hunting prevent this market from achieving the desired outcome of supporting hunting management and local economies. As a result, trophy hunting represents yet another competing use of a dwindling resource.

Although exact amounts are difficult to verify, all indications are that volumes of wildlife passing through these markets have been high. One trader at the Tsaiz market reported total sales in 2004 of 500,000 to 600,000 marmot skins, 50,000 wolf skins, and 50,000 each for red and corsac fox skins.

The Dalai Lama has called for an end to illegal wildlife trafficking between Nepal, Tibet, India and China

The Dalai Lama has called for an end to illegal wildlife trafficking between Nepal, Tibet, India and China.

He is appealing to exiled Tibetans, who are increasingly involved in the bloody trade, to remember their dedication to Buddhist non-violence.

Last year, Tibetan officials intercepted 32 tiger, 579 leopard and 665 otter skins in one single shipment.

This prompted the Dalai Lama and a pair of wildlife charities to launch an awareness drive around the Himalayas.

“We Tibetans are basically Buddhists, we preach love and compassion towards all other living beings on Earth,” said the exiled Tibetan leader. “Therefore, it is the responsibility of all of us to realise the importance of wildlife conservation. We must realise that because of our follies a large number of our animals are getting killed.

The Dalai Lama is working with the charities Care for the Wild International (CWI), from the UK, and the Wildlife Trust of India, to promote an understanding of the damage illegal trading can cause.

The team plan to make videos and leaflets which they will take to Tibetan refugee settlements around India. They also hope to broadcast anti-poaching messages over the TV and radio.

“Thousands will be reached in this way,” said Barbara Maas of CWI. “Eventually, we hope to reach every single one – we will go to schools, we will go to refugee camps, we will go to villages.”

Urgent action

Dr Maas says the project has a sense of urgency because illegal wildlife trading is set to get worse, thanks to a new train line being constructed between the old Tibetan capital of Lhasa and Beijing, the capital of China.

This new transport link will make things easier for poachers wishing to shift animal body parts.

“You can imagine what will happen when the train link opens,” said Dr Maas. “So we are trying to pour water on the flames as they are at the moment and also take pre-emptive action.”

Other charities are in strong support of this new initiative.

“Our own investigation has shown that Tibetans are heavily involved in the organised smuggling of tiger and leopard skins between India and Tibet, and that Tibet is a major market and distribution point for these skins,” said Debbie Banks, of the Environmental Investigation Agency.

“We are encouraged that the Dalai Lama is taking action on this serious issue and hope that his message helps to prevent this disgusting trade from spiralling further out of control.”

CWI claims that the illegal wildlife trade is devastating populations of endangered Himalayan and sub-Himalayan wildlife such as tigers, leopards, snow leopards, otters and bears.

Many of these animal body parts head for China, where they find their way into the traditional medicine market.

Wildlife organisations have long worried about this sad pilgrimage, but few have appealed to people’s religious sensibilities to prevent it.

The Dalai Lama carries enormous weight, especially with Tibetans living in exile, so his voice is likely to be heard.

“It is in the Pali and Sanskrit tradition to show love and compassion for all living beings,” he said at a press conference in New Delhi, India. “It is a shame that we kill these poor creatures to satisfy our own aggrandisement.

“We must realise that because of our follies a large number of our animals are getting killed and we must stop this.”

Loud voice

The CWI is under no illusion about the importance of the Dalai Lama backing the campaign.

“This campaign starts and ends with him,” said Dr Maas. “If it was just us saying: ‘Oh please don’t do it’, I’m not sure it would do much good. But His Holiness will make all the difference.”

Underpinning the whole campaign is the hope that, in the end, people all over the world will want to save endangered species not because we can benefit from them financially, but because it is wrong to kill them.

The Dalai Lama said: “Today more than ever before life must be characterised by a sense of universal responsibility not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life.”

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/04/06 14:58:32 GMT


eBay announces ivory ban in wake of IFAW report

(San Francisco, CA – 20 October 2008) – The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – applauds eBay’s decision to institute a global ban on the sale of elephant ivory products by 1 January 2009 and calls on all other internet traders to follow their example.

eBay’s decision was announced just hours before the release of IFAW’s latest investigative report showing Internet trade in wildlife poses a significant and immediate threat to the survival of elephants and many other endangered species.

The report, which followed a six-week investigation that tracked more than 7,000 wildlife product listings on 183 Web sites in 11 countries, singled out eBay as the largest contributor to the problem, responsible for almost two-thirds of the online trade in wildlife products worldwide

IFAW’s report, Killing with Keystrokes: An Investigation of the Illegal Wildlife Trade on the World Wide Web, will be released tomorrow and shows that more than 70% of all endangered species’ products listed for sale on the Internet occur in the United States. The amount of trade tracked in the U.S. was nearly 10 times the trade tracked in the next two leading countries, the United Kingdom and China.

Elephant ivory dominated the investigation, comprising 73% of all product listings tracked. Exotic birds were second, accounting for nearly 20% of the listings tracked, but primates, big cats and other animals are also falling victim to the e-trade in live animals and wildlife products, according to the report.

“IFAW congratulates eBay on this very important step to protect elephants. With these findings and eBay’s leadership, there is no doubt left that all Internet dealers need to take responsibility for their impact on endangered species by enacting and enforcing a ban on all online wildlife trade. eBay has set the standard for protecting elephants, now governments and other online dealers need to follow their example,” said Barbara Cartwright, IFAW Campaigns Manager.

Over 4,000 elephant ivory listings were uncovered during the investigation, with most of the sales taking place on eBay’s U.S. site. In one instance, a user purchased a pair of elephant tusks off eBay for more than $21,000.

“With a few limited exceptions, selling ivory has been illegal since 1989,” said Jeff Flocken, Director of IFAW’s Washington D.C. office. “However, Web sites are still teeming with ivory trinkets, bracelets, and even whole tusks for sale.”

“Internet dealers profit off of every piece of elephant ivory sold on their Web sites, and every piece of that ivory came from a dead elephant.”

International trade in wildlife is estimated to reach well into the billions of US dollars annually – a black market rivaling the size of the international trade in illegal drugs and weapons.  Every year, more than 20,000 elephants are illegally slaughtered in Africa and Asia to meet demand for ivory products. African and Asian elephants are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the international Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)

Founded in 1969, IFAW works around the globe to protect animals and habitats promoting practical solutions for animals and people. To learn how you can help, please visit

Chris Cutter (IFAW) – Tel: +1 (508) 744-2066;

Colleen Cullen (IFAW) – Tel: +1 (508) 648-3586;