Ivory Trade (2)

Victoria Bicknell




Annotated Bibliographies

Week 2

Redmond, Ian. “The Ivory Trade Isn’t Just a Disaster for Elephants. It Threatens Our Future Too.” The Guardian, 12 Aug. 2016.

Redmonds article published in The Guardian discusses the dangers of not having any elephants left, not only because of the fact that we, humans, find them beautiful, intimidating and impressive. Their love and affection for their young, and other members of their herd strikes an emotional chord in us, but because of their importance to the ecosystem. Every creature has been made for a purpose, whether big or small and no matter how small the part they may seem to play, in the end, it is a major role in keeping our earth healthy. This article illuminates the importance of these elephants, and why this role of theirs is so vital to our health and future.

Bale, Rachael. “China Shuts Down Its Legal Ivory Trade.” National Geographic, 30 Dec. 2017, news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/12/wildlife-watch-china-ivory-ban-goes-into-effect/

Bale’s article published December 30th, 2017 discusses the extent of which the elephants are damaged by the legal and illegal ivory trade and discusses how the United States and China have come together and are trying to preserve the elephants. With the Ivory ban in the US, it’s helping to minimize the importing of ivory, and decreasing the value but with China continuing to be a major player in the ivory trade, it makes it difficult to stop it completely.  The article supports the campaign to educate people of the horror behind ivory and allowing everyone to acknowledge the law. With this new step made by the Chinese government to completely eradicate the legal ivory trade, and help with the preservation of elephants, hopefully for years to come.

Week 3


Carrington, Damien “African Elephants ‘killed faster than they are being born’” The Guardian, March 3rd, 2016.

With an elephants gestation being 22 months and poachers becoming more aggressive, to the point of “shooting down a helicopter and killing the pilot in Tanzania” elephants are being killed faster than they are born. Carrington’s article was written in 2016 and two years later it is still relevant because the discussion on the ivory ban has not come to a conclusion yet. It is still one of the top most lucrative crimes according to the article. With the loss of elephants and the demand for ivory being raised, the trade is “fueling conflicts, corruption and undermining poverty relief efforts” and poaching made up 75% of the elephant deaths in 2011.



Davidson, Nicola “Cultural history or cruel complicity? Why ivory antiques are controversial” CNN, April 13th, 2017

The ivory trade has been around for many generations, and carving of ivory has been around just as long creating a history that has been sculpted in the tusks of these endangered animals. The ivory trade being the leading cause of elephant deaths, certain countries are forced to revisit their laws and this includes what to do with the antiques. Davidson’s article discusses what are the possible actions that can be taken with the historical artefacts made of ivory, and the toll these actions may take on the ivory trade.

Week 4

Wittemyer, George, et al. “Illegal Killing for Ivory Drives Global Decline in African Elephants.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 111, no. 36, 2014, pp. 13117–13121. JSTOR

Wittemyer’s peer-reviewed article discusses the alarming rate of which the illegal wildlife trade is being executed. Poachers search for ‘commercially valuable species’ like the elephants that hold ivory. This article discusses the difficulty in which it is to track the natural causes of death for the wild elephants, or the illegal harvesting of them. With the data collected they discovered the killings increased after 2008 and was linked with the local black market ivory price and the confiscation of ivory being greater than usual. This leads us to believe that simply confiscating the ivory is not good enough, and the poaching must be stopped at the source. Educating the people of the dangers the elephant population is currently facing is an important step.

LaFontaine, Peter, et al. “Treasured to Death: Elephants, Ivory, and the Resurgence of a Crisis.” Natural Resources & Environment, vol. 29, no. 1, 2014, pp. 31–38. JSTOR

LaFountaine’s article discusses how poaching can lead to a threat to international security. They discuss the laws surrounding the ivory trade, they are conflicting and it’s easy to find loopholes in the regulations, allowing the poachers to easily able to launder and sell any newly poached ivory. The article shares that in the 1970’s and 80’s the international community put a hold on the ivory trade, in hopes to give the elephants a chance to bounce back, and the laws worked. The demand for ivory fell along with the prices, but because of loopholes left, the market surged once again shortly after.  Now with the resurgence of the poaching, the poachers and those who affiliated with the black market have become even more aggressive and dangerous leading to compromised security.

Week 5

May, Tiffany. “Hong Kong Moves to Ban All Ivory Sales, Closing a Loophole.” 31 Jan. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/01/31/world/asia/hong-kong-elephant-ivory.html?rref=collection/timestopic/Ivory.

Hong Kong’s legislature voted to have all ivory sales banned by 2021 and closing off a major loophole that made it easy for poachers to trade the freshly poached ivory. Ivory has been banned by most of the world since 1990, Hong Kong and a small handful of other countries did not agree to ban the ivory trade. The sale of ivory antiques from before the 1970’s was still legal and so the traders were still functioning. Though there are still people who argue that the trade should be preserved because of the historical and artistic significance that is especially important for those artisans who have been carving ivory for years. With the partial ban set up earlier in December, the price of raw ivory fell by 65 percent which shows how the total ban will help with the elephant population.

Searcey, Dionne. “Ivory Coast Arrests Six in Ring That Smuggled Parts of Elephants, Leopards and Pangolins.” 25 Jan. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/01/25/world/africa/ivory-coast-elephants-leopards-pangolins-smuggling.html?rref=collection/timestopic/Ivory.

The Ivory Coast broke up an international ivory-smuggling network that not only carried a half ton of ivory but pangolin scales (the highest trafficked animal in the world) and leopard skins among other animal parts. The people who were arrested are also believed to be involved with human trafficking and money laundering. Though this is not the first bust on the traders, there was an earlier one that same month. The smugglers used hollowed logs filled with the ivory and resealed glue to hide it from guards and allowed for easy smuggling. With China’s ban on commercial ivory implemented at the end of last year, it has allowed the guards to seize large amounts of ivory and many other animal parts in the last year.


Press, The Associated. “'A Giant of Conservation': Top Investigator of Ivory Trade Killed in Kenya.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 5 Feb. 2018, www.cbc.ca/news/world/us-investigator-ivory-rhino-horn-trade-killed-kenya-1.4519952.

Esmond Bradley Martin, an American conservationist who helped with ivory investigations,  was found stabbed to death in his Nairobi home. He plotted against poachers and traders by sometimes going undercover and getting information on them. He did this for many years and even had a partner, Lucy Vigne. They noted that there was a drop in price for ivory in China shortly after it was banned at the beginning of this year. He was a major part in proving that the rhino population was dwindling and he would gather the numbers to prove to the nations that the poaching was taking a toll on the rhinos and elephants. Officials are claiming that his murder so far has little or no connection to his line of work.

Mushegian, Sasha. “Appalled by the Illegal Trade in Elephant Ivory, a Biologist Decided to Make His Own.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 10 May 2017, www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/faking-elephant-ivory-180963226/.

A biologist by the name of Fritz Vollrath was horrified by the length of which people would go for ivory and the damage the trade is causing for the ivory-bearing creatures. Hence, he decided to try to create a false ivory, like synthetic furs, to substitute the real ivory but save the once bountiful animals. He is studying the form of it, trying to understand how the substance is so sturdy. Once he can understand the structure of ivory, he can continue with the fabrication of the fake ivory. With the nations coming together to ban the ivory trade, he believes his ‘ivory’ can be used in a biomedical practice. Along with that, the artisans could transfer their skills onto this alternative to keep the craft alive without using real ivory. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to recreate natural materials is not easy and so this could take a while to fully complete.


Wasser, Samuel K., Bill Clark, and Cathy Laurie. "The ivory trail." Scientific American 301.1 (2009): 68-77.

In this peer-reviewed article, they discuss the history and the possible future of the ivory trade. They discuss the outcomes of the poaching ban in 1989 that created a poaching lull for a short amount of time, and how the government officials are able to track the ivory (so whether it’s new or old) by tracking the DNA. With this technique, it allows investigators to track where the ivory was poached, to begin with, whereas before a shipment could be taken from one country and sold in another. This is very important to know because it allows the government to put stronger enforcements around where the animals are being poached and to step in where it is needed. This article is also important because they discuss how the ban in 1989 affected the poaching, and in turn, created a short lull illustrating that a full ban would be beneficial.

Andrew M. Lemieux, Ronald V. Clarke; The International Ban on Ivory Sales and its Effects on Elephant Poaching in Africa, The British Journal of Criminology, Volume 49, Issue 4, 1 July 2009, Pages 451–471, https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azp030

Lemieux’s peer-reviewed article discusses the ban that was implemented in 1989 and the effects of it on the elephant population. He argues that the ban may not have been as successful as believed because of inconsistencies and the strenuous task of gathering data. After Lemieux collects data, he continues to say that the ban had succeeded in protecting the elephants though only in certain regions as certain countries where there is easier access to ‘unregulated’ markets that possibly correlate with corruption and war. This is important to note because not only is the ivory ban an issue towards the ivory-bearing animals, but it also concerns the security of the countries in which the poaching was still heavily prominent.