Why Ricky Gervais Is An Animal Rights Legend

Ricky Gervais has carved an incredibly successful career from making people laugh but it’s no joking matter when it comes to standing up for the rights of animals!

In 2014, Ricky famously declared; “Animals don’t have a voice. But I do. A loud one. I’m a fucking big mouth. My voice is for them. And I’ll never shut up while they suffer”. And true to his word, Ricky is constantly shouting from the rooftops about bringing an end to animal cruelty. Whether it’s fighting against Fox hunting or battling a historic Bull fight when it comes to all creatures great and small, Ricky has their back.

Thanks to his celebrity status from films and TV, Ricky has a staggering following on Twitter and Facebook and he regularly uses social media to make people sit up and listen. One carefully worded tweet to his millions of followers can bring global attention to animals in fear or danger within seconds. He can encourage charity donations to come flooding in and get everyone talking about shocking examples of cruelty around the world.

In the past, Ricky has used social media to highlight the atrocity of 10,000 dogs slaughtered every year at the annual Chinese Yulin Dog Meat Festival and campaigned to bring it to an end.

He has individually named and shamed ‘big game hunters’ as they’ve posed by their bleeding ‘trophies’. Ricky also posted this message on his Facebook page – “I’m sick of Trophy Hunters trying to excuse their grim sport by saying they provide a service. They exploit the needs of the poor. They pay lots of money to go and shoot a magnificent animal because the authorities need the cash, and then claim they are doing a good deed. It’s not a good deed. Those authorities would rather have the money AND the animal still alive but they can’t afford to. So they’re forced to take money from rich psychopaths who get their cheap fucking thrills from shooting a giraffe or elephant in the head. If they were providing a service THEY would be the ones being paid. Imagine a vet paying you to put down your dog and then taking a selfie next to the corpse. And as for “the money goes to saving there remaining animals”. Oh dear. Where will it end? Can you pay more to kill the Leopard with a hammer if that’s your perversion? They’re already killing with bows and arrows for fucks sake. And would we allow some billionaire sicko to shoot one cancer patient if he gave a million dollars to cancer research? No. Of course we fucking wouldn’t. If they really wanted to do a good deed they would donate the money, and NOT shoot the animal. They would be heroes then. As opposed to murdering scum”.

Why Ricky Gervais Is Every Cowardly Trophy Hunter’s Worst Nightmare!

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In 2014, Ricky lent his considerable Twitter celebrity to the campaign against Western Australia’s controversial Shark kill policy. He appeared on social media holding up a sign decrying the WA government plans to catch and kill any shark 3m or over that comes within 1km of a Perth beach. It read: “To the government of Western Australia – Listen to Facts, Listen to Science, Listen to Reason – Stop the Shark Cull.” He also used his appearance at the British National Television Awards.

A local street artist made his own protest by painting a mural on a building which included the anti-cull quote by from Ricky. The cull was later called off!

Also in 2014, Ricky symbolically adopted one of the 130 moon Bears on a Bear bile farm in Nanning, China, a farm that’s set to transition into Animals Asia’s third moon Bear sanctuary. Ricky named the young male Bear, Derek, after his comedy-drama.

L to R – Peter Egan, Ricky’s partner Jane Fallon, Ricky and Jill Robinson (founder of Animals Asia)

Derek was a ten-year-old Bear with a host of problems, as a result of a life trapped in a cage where workers would extract his bile. His head is raw from years of rubbing his head against the bars of his small cage, and most of his teeth have fallen out, with the exception of a few rotten teeth which badly needed to be extracted. His lolloping tongue is a result of a nerve damage, while his right eye suffers from a cataract.

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“Derek is a beautiful but very damaged Bear,” said Ricky. “After such a sad and traumatic existence on a Bear farm I am thrilled to have adopted him as one of 130 Bears currently being rescued by Animals Asia in China and long to see him enjoying his new life in the sun! I so admire this historic initiative to turn a Bear farm into a sanctuary and applaud the efforts of everyone involved.”

In the USA in 2015, a female black bear called Ricky who spent 18 years in a cage was freed after a settlement in a lawsuit brought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund

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The lawsuit was filed by in December 2014 on behalf of concerned Pennsylvania residents against Jim Mack’s Ice Cream, where Ricky had lived in a small, concrete cage, eating a mix of corn and dog food funnelled onto the floor of her enclosure.

Ricky’s plight drew national attention, and tens of thousands of people (including Ricky) signed petitions requesting her release..

Again in 2015, Ricky helped hundreds of shelter dogs desperately lacking food and medical care. When an influx of 680 dogs arrived at a public shelter in Odai, Romania, the workers knew these dogs didn’t have anywhere else to turn. Despite not having enough food, bedding or even bowls for water, the shelter took them in. They needed help and fast, so London-based partner rescue, K-9 Angels created a fundraising page with an urgent plea for donations “to ease the emergency situation at the shelter.” Over the course of several days, the group had raised only about £4,000 for the Romanian shelter. The money was enough to make sure the dogs had enough food for about two months, but it didn’t come anywhere near what the shelter needed to pay for basic supplies, vaccinations and labour costs. In fact, it was about £26,000 short. That’s when Ricky stepped in and posted the following tweet.

“Within days we had raised £20,000. Before Ricky retweeted we had only raised £4,000 so it just goes to show the power that animal loving celebs have. We are very grateful,” K-9 Angels founder Victoria Eisermann. The group showed their gratitude with a post in which they called the comedian “an angel” for sharing their fundraiser page. Eisermann added that the group even honoured Ricky by naming one of the young puppies “Ricky.”

Lately,  Ricky has been very vocal about Lucy’s Law, the campaign to end the heart-breaking puppy farming trade. Lucy’s Law is named after a remarkable Cavalier Spaniel called Lucy who was rescued from a Welsh puppy farm and became a celebrity in her own right on social media before her death more than a year ago. Ricky regularly posted details on Twitter and Facebook leading to it being a short distance from becoming law.

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Ricky’s passion and ability to be vocal has made millions of people painfully aware of such issues as the slaughter of whales in the Faroe Islands and the stolen pet dogs of Thailand that are destined for the illegal meat trade.

Ricky also reminds us all of the huge number of animals in rescue shelters and the importance of the hashtag #AdoptDontShop with his numerous posts.

ADOPT DONT SHOP 1

Ricky is driven to raise awareness and get signatures on petitions that pile pressure on governments. He has put his name to campaigns with charities such as PETA and the Humane Society International. Ricky won’t stop until animals are protected from blood sports, their fur is no longer used as a fashion statement, the Yulin ‘festival’ ends and the last SeaWorld ‘fish tank’ is empty (etc etc!)

This year Ricky donated £427,243 to animal charities from the sale of premium seats for his stand-up tour Supernature.

It was split three ways between International Animal Rescue, Animals Asia and Nowzad which each received just over £142,400. 

Ricky said: ‘It is such a privilege to be able to help animals in need, simply by doing a job that I already love.’

Ricky is undoubtedly a voice for all animals and it’s fair to say the world is listens to him.

And a final quote from Ricky……

BE KIND TO ANIMALS

This is only a small part of what Ricky has done for animals over the years.

…….and THAT is why Ricky Gervais is a animal rights legend!!

Protect All Wildlife

The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty and promote the welfare of ALL animals.

We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals.

It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, take action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible.

Thank you for your support and consideration.

Elephants Left Motherless By Poachers Are Brought Up By ‘Foster Parents’ In 50-Strong ‘Family’

With big eyes, this baby Elephant enthusiastically climbs on the tired old man lying on the ground.

At just nine months old, he explores the world with all the playful curiosity of an enthusiastic young man.

And the older Elephants in the group let the smaller ones patiently crawl on them and show how kind these powerful animals can be. But there is a tragedy behind this extraordinary image.

Instead of growing up with their natural families, these Elephants are orphans forced to create their own extraordinary family of survivors.

Bondeni always wants to play with his Keepers and can usually be found chasing after or climbing on top of his friends!

Some were separated from their mothers by mistake, but too many were orphaned by predatory ivory poachers.

And these Elephants, who lie down to calm the little ones, are only two years old. Since they have no adults in their group, they became the protective mother figures 20 years earlier.

The family of 50 lives in the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya. Each of them has a heart-breaking story.

A young woman arrived at a ranch at the age of just seven weeks, roared with grief, and was “desperately looking for a company” after her mother was massacred.

Another was “found standing guard over her dying mother”, another victim of the ivory trade. So, it’s no wonder that when Elephants are taken to the orphanage, they are so traumatized that only one in ten survives.

In these risky early days, keepers, men from nearby villages, are careful to stay in physical contact with the newcomer at all times and imitate the affection he would have received from his relatives.

The 50-strong family lives at an orphanage run by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya. Above, a keeper looks after a young Elephant

The emotions of a young Elephant are so strong that a different animal keeper has to sleep next to him every night. If not, the orphan becomes too affectionate and begins to cry when her human companion has to be absent from work.

Luckily, there is an easy way to tell if the newcomer is successful. Baby Elephants should have thick cheeks like their human counterparts.

Older Elephants will benevolently watch over any nervous child. And as soon as this initial shock is overcome, the orphans will play and frolic happily together.

Due to the strength of a young Elephant’s emotions the keepers change the animal they sleep near each night. If not, the orphan will become too attached and start to grieve when its human companion has to take time off work

After the terrible two years, the orphans are transferred to one of the Trust’s two rehabilitation centres in Tsavo East National Park, where they recognize some of their older playmates from kindergarten.

There, they will slowly begin to reintegrate into the desert, a process that takes years. They go on walks with their animal caretakers until they gain confidence in their independence and receive water and milk until they are ten years old.

One day they’ll leave and they won’t come back. The little orphans who have won against adversity hope to start their own families.

Protect All Wildlife

The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty and promote the welfare of ALL animals.

We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals.

It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, take action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible.

Thank you for your support and consideration.

Bhogeshwara, Asia’s ‘Longest-Tusked’ Elephant Dies Of Natural Causes.

RIP BHOGESHWARA

The Elephant was a major attraction for tourists at the Kabini backwaters. The 60-year-old Elephant was found dead in the Gundre range of Karnataka’s Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

The Elephant was named Bhogeshwar by the forest department officers and tribals after he was often sighted near Bhogeshwar camp, where a temple and an anti-poaching camp are located. “Many tourists would be delighted and pleased on catching a glimpse of him, even if they were not able to sight a Tiger in Kabini. The tusker has also featured in several wildlife documentaries and films made by the department and some private organizations,” said a forest department official.

Bhogeshwara, reportedly the Elephant with the longest tusks in Asia, died of natural causes at the age of 60, according to officials. The wild Elephant, also known as Mr Kabini, was found dead in the Gundre range of Karnataka’s Bandipur Tiger Reserve on Saturday. The officials believe that he died three or four days ago.

According to forest department officials, Bhogeshwar’s tusks were 2.54 meters and 2.34 meters long.

Known for his gentle temperament, the Elephant frequented the Kabini backwaters for the last three decades. Wildlife enthusiasts who observed Bhogeshwara say that his calmness and long tusks used to attract the tourists at Kabini.

The director of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Ramesh Kumar, said: “The field staff found the carcass. We did not find any injury marks and the tusks were intact. Usually as they age, Elephants cannot eat properly due to the wearing of their teeth. The tusks were removed and carcass was left for the natural decomposition and scavengers to feed on,” he said.

FIELD STAFF WITH THE BODY OF BHOGESHWARA

The forest department in April came out with a notification that the carcass of the wild animals will not be incinerated or buried since they are an important source of energy and nutrients for predators and scavengers. The new rule, however, does not apply to tigers.

Meanwhile, tributes poured on social media for Bhogeshwara .

Protect All Wildlife

The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty and promote the welfare of ALL animals.

We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals.

It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, take action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible.

Thank you for your support and consideration.

Please support our work by donating ANY amount, large or small. It only takes a minute and your donations make it all possible. Thank you for your support.

Please Help End Animal Abuse And Cruelty.

Animal Rights Activist Ricky Gervais

 “Animals are not here for us to do as we please with. We are not their superiors. We are their equals. We are their family. Be kind to them.” ~ Ricky Gervais.

Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuseanimal neglect or animal cruelty, is the infliction by omission (neglect) or by commission by humans of suffering or harm upon any animal. More narrowly, it can be the causing of harm or suffering for specific achievement, such as killing animals for entertainment; cruelty to animals sometimes encompasses inflicting harm or suffering as an end in itself, defined as zoosadism.

Animal cruelty can be broken down into two main categories: active and passive. Passive cruelty is typified by cases of neglect, in which the cruelty is a lack of action rather than the action itself. Oftentimes passive animal cruelty is accidental, born of ignorance. In many cases of neglect in which an investigator believes that the cruelty occurred out of ignorance, the investigator may attempt to educate the pet owner, then revisit the situation. In more severe cases, exigent circumstances may require that the animal be removed for veterinary care.

Whether it is Elephants killed for their tusks or beaten so they comply in the Asian tourism ‘industry’, Rhino slaughtered for their horns for ‘traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), animals skinned alive for the fur trade etc, animal activists need to stand together to fight for their rights.

At many elephant ‘sanctuaries’ across Thailand and in other countries, the elephants are taught to fear humans. This is so that they will act with compliancy. From babies they are tied up, starved and beaten in what is known as a ‘crush’. This is the act of breaking a young elephant’s spirit. And it’s mostly true what they say: an elephant never forgets. This means that, with their long memories, elephants remember this period of abuse for the rest of their lives. It ensures that the elephants will do what the trainers (also known as mahouts) say, and are more easily trained.

They are also commonly beaten with hooks and sticks that have nails poking out of them – this is when they are seen to be misbehaving or not following orders, or being too slow to respond. The mahouts want the animals to be constantly putting on a performance for those tourists who are there for elephant riding in Thailand.

UNDERCOVER FOOTAGE SHOWS CRUEL TRAINING USED ON BABY ELEPHANTS TO BOOST THAILAND TOURISM

As poaching and habitat loss ravage rhinoceros and elephant populations, protections for these species are vitally important. Today, all five rhino species and both elephant species are threatened with extinction. Efforts are underway across the globe to save these iconic animals.

Elephants and rhinos often experience painful deaths when poached. Rhinos may have their horns cut off while they are still alive and contrary to belief, elephants do not lose their tusks; they are hacked out by poachers.

More than a thousand rhinos and tens of thousands of elephants are killed each year to feed demand for ivory and rhino horn. The international trade in elephants, rhinos, and other species is the second-largest threat to wildlife after habitat loss. If the market continues to drive poaching, both rhinos and elephants could vanish from the wild as early as 2034.

HORRIFIC IMAGES OF ELEPHANTS POACHED FOR THEIR TUSKS AND A RHINO FOR ITS HORN

Every year, hundreds of badgers meet a horrific death in the name of ‘sport’ in the UK at the hands of terriermen. Many of those who have been caught digging into badger setts have used the excuse that they were after foxes – and many have escaped prosecution by so doing.

The Lychee and Dog Meat Festival, commonly referred to as the Yulin Dog Meat Festival is an annual event starting on 20th of June where an estimated 10,000 – 15,000 dogs and cats are slaughtered for their meat.

The ‘festival’ began in 2010 to celebrate summer solstice. Advocates and restaurant owners say that eating dog is traditional in the summertime. Around 10-20 million dogs are killed for their meat each year in China. However, critics argue there is no cultural value in the festival and it was mainly devised as a way of making money.

While slaughtering dogs is common in China, the festival is seen as representative of the cruelty and lack of hygiene associated with the largely unregulated industry. In addition, many of the animals killed are stolen pets some of which have been seen still wearing their collars.

Some are sent to the festival in small cages without food or water on trucks that can travel hundreds of miles.

Slaughtering takes place in front of the live animals, usually with a club or with a blow-torch to induce the pain and fear that some restaurant owners claim makes their adrenaline-rich meat tastier.

“Psychologically and mentally, they have already died many times,” said Peter Li, a China policy specialist with the Humane Society International.

DOGS ARE TORTURED TO DEATH IN THE BELIEF THAT IT MAKES THE MEAT TASTIER

Trophy hunters pay large sums of money, often tens of thousands of dollars, to travel around the world to kill wild animals. Who can forget the killing of Cecil the Lion in 2015 in Zimbabwe? He was hunted over many hours with a bow and arrow, before being skinned and beheaded by Dentist Walter Palmer.

More often than not animals in their prime and in breeding age are targeted by trophy hunting because of their specific characteristics; their black mane, their long tusks, the size of their antlers, in fact Safari Club International offers prizes for the largest animals killed. Where older males are targeted this can have extreme negative consequences for the herd or pride; older males offer protection to groups and keep juvenile males in line, when they are killed less experienced animals move in, increasing the risk of human wildlife conflict and killing the cubs of the older male. When the elephants with the largest tusks are killed, we have seen the size of elephant tusks in the population decrease over time, making it harder to find food and defend themselves.

CECIL THE LION WAS SHOT BY DENTIST WALTER PALMER IN JULY 2015 AND CAUSED INTERNATIONAL OUTRAGE

More than 10,000 are caught, tortured and killed in the UK each year by huntsmen with terriers – with almost a third of these illegal acts being carried out in Wales. Alarmingly, this figure is rising constantly. Terry Spamer, a former RSPCA inspector, believes that there are around 2,000 people involved in badger baiting currently. However, only around three people are caught and convicted of badger baiting each year, while the majority carry on breaking the law.

Traditional fox hunting was banned in England and Wales under the Hunting Act 2004. In spite of existing legislation, there has been 500 successful prosecutions under the Act. However, many incidents of illegal hunting have gone unpunished.

FOX HUNTING AND BADGER BAITING IS ILLEGAL IN THE UK BUT CARRIES ON WITH WITH APPARENT IMPUNITY

Dogfighting is an inhumane ‘bloodsport’ where dogs who have been bred, conditioned and trained to fight are placed in a pit to fight each other for spectator ‘entertainment’ and profit. Fights average one to two hours, ending when one of the dogs cannot continue.

Dog fights usually take part in quiet, private locations, such as in an industrial unit or farm building. Participants will spend months training their dogs in preparation, much like boxing, the fighters will have to hit a target weight to take part. Organisers will create a fighting ‘pit’ for the dogs to fight within.

Dogs who have been used in fighting often have serious injuries to their head, ears, front legs and chest that are caused as they go head-to-head in a pit. They will also have injuries of different ages, some old scars and some fresh wounds.

IT IS BELIEVED OVER 16000 DOGS DIE EACH YEAR IN ORGANIZED DOG FIGHTS

Each year, thousands of bulls are barbarically slaughtered in bullrings around the world. Over the centuries, bullfighters have found countless ways to rig the “fight” in their favor. Bulls are often weakened with drugs or by having sandbags dropped on their backs. Their horns have been shaved to keep them off balance, or petroleum jelly has been rubbed into their eyes to impair their vision.

Every year, approximately 250,000 bulls are killed in bullfights. Bullfighting is already banned by law in many countries including Argentina, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Italy and the United Kingdom. Although legal in Spain, some Spanish cities, such as Calonge, Tossa de Mar, Vilamacolum and La Vajol, have outlawed the practice of bullfighting. There are only a few countries throughout the world where this practice still takes place (Spain, France, Portugal, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador). ~ HSI.

BULLS ARE TORTURED IN THE NAME OF CULTURE AND TRADITION

Each year from approximately September 1 to March 1, a large-scale hunt of dolphins takes place in the small village of Taiji, Japan, as featured in the 2010 Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove. During this six month season, dolphin hunters utilize drive hunt techniques to herd large numbers of dolphins to shore, resulting in their capture or death.

The captured dolphins may be selected for live trade to aquariums and marine parks for display, while others are slaughtered for their meat. The price for live captures is many times higher than those killed.

THE ANNUAL TAIJI DOLPHIN SLAUGHTER

What you can do to help end animal abuse

We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals.

It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, taking action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty, promote the welfare of ALL animals EVERYWHERE, and help END animal abuse.

Please support our work by donating ANY amount, large or small. It only takes a minute and your donations make it all possible. Thank you for your support.

What else you can do to help

Please SHARE to raise awareness to wildlife and environmental issues from around the world.

South Africa’s Ivory Delusion. Why Selling Ivory Stockpiles To China Will NOT Stop The Illegal Ivory Trade

The values of Zimbabwe’s and Namibia’s ivory stockpiles have been grossly overstated, and their proposed sale would lead to another poaching epidemic.

In 2020 the world reacted in shock when Namibia announced plans to auction off 170 live Elephants to the highest bidder.

Despite criticism, the plans have continued to move forward — and that may just be the start. Tucked away in a press release justifying the auction was a rehash of the country’s oft-repeated desire to also sell ivory. The Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism’s stated:

“Namibia has major stockpiles of valuable wildlife products including ivory which it can produce sustainably and regulate properly, and which if traded internationally could support our Elephant conservation and management for decades to come.”

Namibia is not alone in this desire to capitalize on its wildlife. In Zimbabwe’s national assembly last year, the minister of environment valued the country’s stockpile of 130 metric tonnes (143 tons) of ivory and 5 tonnes (5.5 tons) of rhino horn at $600 million in U.S. dollars. This figure, which would value ivory at more than $4,200 per kilogram, has since been seized upon by commentators seeking to justify the reintroduction of the ivory trade.

Charan Saunders is an environmental accountant dedicated to ethical conservation, so she wanted to understand these numbers and how they motivate countries. In truth, she found not even full black-market value comes close to arriving at this figure.

Black-market values are, of course, often invisible to the general public, but the most recent data from criminal justice experts finds that unworked (or raw) Elephant ivory sells for about $92/kg on the black market in Africa, while rhino horn is currently selling for $8,683/kg.

Therefore, a more realistic valuation of Zimbabwe’s ivory stockpiles, using an optimistic wholesale price of $150/kg, would give a potential income of only $19.5 million in U.S. dollars.

This is a 30th of Zimbabwe’s estimate.

And even then, those numbers fail to account for the disaster that would happen if ivory sales return — as we saw in the all-too-recent past.

The One-Off Sales

SEIZED ILLEGAL IVORY

International trade in ivory has been banned since 1989, following a 10-year period in which African Elephant numbers declined by 50%, from 1.3 million to 600,000. However, in 1999 and 2008 CITES allowed “one-off sales” of stockpiled ivory, to disastrous effect. The selling prices achieved then were only $100/kg and $157/kg, in U.S. dollars respectively, due to collusion by official Chinese and Japanese buyers.

The intention of CITES in approving the one-off ivory sales was to introduce a controlled and steady supply of stockpiled ivory into the market. The legal supply, coupled with effective systems of control, aimed to satisfy demand and reduce prices. This in turn should have reduced the profitability of (and the demand for) illegal ivory. Poaching should have followed suit and decreased.

Instead, the sales led to an increase in demand and, consequently, an increase in Elephant poaching. The 2008 ivory sale was accompanied by a 66% increase in illegally traded ivory and a 71% increase in ivory smuggling. An investigation in 2010 by the Environmental Investigation Agency documented that 90% of the ivory being sold in China came from illegal sources.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) comparison of Elephant poaching figures for the five years preceding and five years following the sale showed an “abrupt, significant, permanent, robust and geographically widespread increase” in poaching.

The problem has not faded away. Most recently the two African Elephant species (savanna and forest) were declared endangered and critically endangered due to their continued poaching threat.

ZIMBABWE ELEPHANTS

Still, some African nations look fondly at the 2008 sale and have long hoped to repeat it. The Zimbabwe Ministry’s 2020 statement follows yet another proposal to the 18th CITES Conference of the Parties (COP18) by Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana to trade in live Elephants and their body parts, including ivory. The proposal was not accepted by the parties.

Why Didn’t Ivory Sales Work?

The one-off sales of ivory removed the stigma associated with its purchase, stimulated the market demand, and increased prices.

The ivory that China purchased in 2008 for $157/kg was drip-fed by the authorities to traders at prices ranging between $800 and $1,500 per kilogram. This meant that the bulk of the profits went to filling Chinese government coffers — not to African nations — and in doing so, created a large illegal market which drove prices even higher.

Raw ivory prices in China increased from $750/kg in 2010 to $2,100/kg in 2014. The market had been stimulated, prices increased and the volume of legal ivory available was insufficient to meet demand as the Chinese government gradually fed its stockpile into the market.

Japan, the other participant in the one-off sales, has systematically failed to comply with CITES regulations, meaning that there were (and still are) no controls over ivory being sold, allowing the illegal markets to function in parallel to the legal one.

In a very short space of time, criminals ramped up poaching and Elephant numbers plummeted.

What Has Happened to the Price of Ivory Since Then?

With no recent legal international sales, combined with the significant U.S., Chinese and United Kingdom domestic ivory sales bans, the price for raw ivory paid by craftsmen in China fell from $2,100/kg in 2014 to $730/kg in 2017. That’s when China closed all its official ivory carving outlets and theoretically stopped all official ivory trade.

The price currently paid for raw ivory in Asia, according to an investigation by the Wildlife Justice Commission, is currently between $597/kg and $689/kg, in U.S. dollars. Ivory sourced in Africa and sold in Asia has additional costs such as transportation, taxes and broker commissions. The prices paid for raw ivory in Africa have decreased correspondingly from $208/kg to $92/kg in 2020.

Those numbers pale in comparison to a living Elephant. A 2014 study found that live Elephants are each worth an estimated $1.6 million in ecotourism opportunities.

Funding Conservation

One half-truth is that the money earned from the legal sale will be used to effectively fund conservation.

One of the CITES conditions of the 2008 sale was that funds were to go to the conservation of Elephants. South Africa placed a substantial portion of the income from its share of the pie in the Mpumalanga Problem Animal Fund — which, it turns out, was well-named. An internal investigation found the fund had “no proper controls” and that “tens of millions” of rand (the official currency of South Africa) had bypassed the normal procurement processes.

Ironically, proceeds were also partly used for the refurbishment of the Skukuza abattoir, where most of the 14,629 Elephant carcasses from culling operations between 1967 and 1997 were processed.

All the while, Africa’s Elephant populations continued to decline.

How to Stop Poaching

In light of these deficiencies — and in light of Elephants’ recently declared endangered status — the very reverse of actual conservation can be expected if any nation is again allowed to sell its ivory stockpiles. The cost of increased anti-poaching efforts required from the consequent increase in poaching will outweigh the benefit of any income from the sale of ivory stockpiles.

To stop poaching, all international and local trade must be stopped.

Repeating this failed experiment will send a message that it is acceptable to trade in ivory. Ivory carving outlets in China will re-open and demand for ivory will be stimulated. The demand for ivory in an increasingly wealthy and better-connected Asia will quickly outstrip legal supply and poaching will increase.

Meanwhile, the management of a legal ivory trade requires strong systems of control at every point in the commodity chain to ensure that illegal ivory is not laundered into the legal market. With recalcitrant Japan continuing to ignore CITES, “untransparent” Namibia “losing tolerance” with CITES, and Zimbabwe ranking 157 out of 179 on the corruption perceptions index, not even the basics for controlled trade are in place.

Therefore, aside from the strong theoretical economic arguments against renewed one-off sales, the practical arguments are perhaps even stronger: If international ivory and rhino horn sales ever again become legal, the cost to protect Elephants will skyrocket and these culturally valuable animals will plunge into decline — and possibly extinction.

About the author: Charan Saunders grew up in Cape Town and studied genetics and microbiology and then went on to qualify as a chartered accountant. She has worked in London in the forensic science field and was the chief financial officer of a major vaccine manufacturer for six years. She now serves as a financial director in the field of conservation.

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