People, Environment

Ivory Prices Drop in Asia Following China's Ban

Ivory Prices Drop in Asia Following China's BanIvory Prices Drop in Asia Following China's Ban

A new, as yet unpublished research by the Wildlife Justice Commission shows that the price of raw ivory in Asia has fallen dramatically since the Chinese government announced plans to ban its domestic legal ivory trade.

However, poaching has not dropped yet, according to the Guardian, which has seen the research.

Undercover investigators from the Wildlife Justice Commission have been visiting traders in Hanoi over the last three years. In 2015, they were being offered raw ivory for an average of $1,322 per kg in 2015, but by October 2016 that price had dropped to $750/kg, and by February this year prices were as much as 50% lower overall, at $660/kg.

Of all the ivory industries across Asia, it is Vietnam that has increased its production of illegal ivory items the fastest in the last decade, according to the non-profit Save the Elephants.

Vietnam now has one of the largest illegal ivory markets in the world, with the majority of tusks being brought in from Africa. Although historically ivory carving is not considered a prestigious art form in Vietnam, as it is in China, the number of carvers has increased greatly.

Demand for the carved pieces comes mostly from mainland China. Until recently, the chances of being arrested at the border was slim due to inefficient law enforcement.

However, the prices for raw ivory are now declining as the Chinese market slows; this is partly due to China’s economic slowdown and also due to the announcement that the country will close down its domestic ivory trade.

China’s ivory factories were officially shut down by 31 March 2017 and all the retail outlets will be closed by the end of the year.


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