If you are looking for EIA UK, it's overhere.

Elephant Poaching and Illegal Ivory Trade Out of Control

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new report released today exposes large-scale illegal ivory trade in Tanzania and Zambia on the eve of the opening of the meeting of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Doha, Qatar on Saturday March, 12. Both Tanzaniaand Zambia have proposed selling their ivory stocks despite intensive elephant poaching and illegal ivory trade within their countries.

The report “Open Season – The Burgeoning Illegal Ivory Trade in Tanzania and Zambia” is being released by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a non-profit group based in Washington, DC and London. EIA undercover investigators recently visited Tanzania and Zambia and returned with harrowing first-hand evidence documenting a flourishing trade in illegal ivory in both countries, often exacerbated by official corruption.

Tanzania’s elephant population declined by more than 30,000 elephants between 2006 and 2009, primarily from poaching to supply black-market ivory to Asia. Rampant poaching is concentrated around the Selous Game Reserve where 40% of Tanzania’s elephants are located. In 2009 several major seizures totaling some 12 tons of ivory occurred in Asia. DNA studies from earlier seizures of Tanzanian ivory in Asia has shown that much of the ivory originated from the Selous.

“Time after time, CITES actions to allow supposedly limited ivory sales stimulate a massive escalation in elephant poaching and ivory smuggling all across Africa,” said Allan Thornton, President of EIA. He continued, “The only thing accomplished by these legally sanctioned ivory sales beyond enriching Chinese and Japanese ivory merchants, is to imperil elephant conservation and provide legal market cover for smuggling and laundering of poached ivory.”

In February 2010, EIA investigators posing as buyers easily found ivory for sale in the markets of Dar es Salaam, identified hotspots for illegal ivory trading in southern Selous, and gathered data on recent poaching incidents. In one village near the Selous Reserve, a poacher dug up his cache of tusks and offered them for sale. The investigators were forced to flee when the poachers became aggressive, and were pursued on motorbikes fitted with exhaust silencers, the same vehicles often used to move ivory around the area.

In Zambia, EIA investigators found that despite the ban on domestic sales, ivory is easily obtainable in large quantities, and often purchased by Chinese nationals. The report also reveals that the country has a thriving illegal domestic market and is at the centre of the international ivory trade, hosting some of the world’s most sophisticated traders and networks – which in some instances use government military vehicles to transport illegal ivory.

“Every time CITES approves an ivory sale it translates into an open hunting season on elephants across Africa and a death sentence for tens of thousands of protected elephants,” said Samuel LaBudde, a biologist with EIA. “It would be a tragedy for elephants and a travesty of conservation principles for CITES to approve Tanzania and Zambia’s applications to downlist protections for elephants.”

The full extent of the illegal ivory trade in these countries is documented in the new EIA report Open Season: The Burgeoning Illegal Ivory Trade in Tanzania and Zambia, and available online at: www.eia-global.org.


Contact: Allan Thornton or Samuel LaBudde at EIA, Washington, DC: (202) 483­6621

Environmental Investigation Agency
PO Box 53343, Washington, DC 20009 www.eia-global.org
Tel: +1 202 483 6621/ Fax: +1 202 986 8626

View all Press Releases

Recent Blog Posts

Room for Improvement: Using DNA Analysis to Address Rhino Horn Trafficking
Law enforcement officials from around the world have seized illegal supplies of rhino horn at least once a week on average for the past 10 years. The type of seizure ranges widely. It could be a pair of fresh horns confiscated from poachers who just gunned down a rhino inside a national park. Or possibly dozens of horns were discovered cleverly hidden in an air cargo shipment. Sometime it’s just a few grams of powdered horn found in a traveler’s luggage. Maybe a mix of raw and carved horns was seized after a police raid on a trafficker’s home.
Still Waiting for Action: Tokyo's Ivory Trade Assessment
The reality of the scope and impact of COVID-19 hit home for much of the world when the Tokyo 2020 Games were postponed. A year later and looking far different than ever expected or hoped, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games finally arrived. As the host of the 2020 Games, Tokyo has come under increased scrutiny for its legal market for elephant ivory. Even as the Games were underway, the influential capital city faced mounting international pressure to close its legal ivory market for good. For World Elephant Day 2021, in between the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, we take a look at where Tokyo stands in doing its part to protect the world's elephants from the threats of ivory trade and poaching. 

Recent Reports

Letter: NGO Appeal to the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games
: EIA, JTEF, and HSI appeal to the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee President and Governor of Tokyo to take action to prevent illegal trade and export of elephant ivory products
NGO Appeal to Tokyo for Urgent Measures on Ivory
EIA and 25 international non-government environmental and conservation organizations sent a letter February 18, 2021 to follow up on a previous appeal from March 2020. Our organizations encourage the closure of Tokyo's ivory market and also recommend some actions the Tokyo Metropolitan Government should take before the ivory market can be closed, including during the rescheduled 2020 Olympic Games. The letter can be viewed in English and Japanese.

Recent Press Releases

Tokyo Fumbles Short-Term Ivory Trade Action
Conservation, environmental and animal welfare groups bemoaned measures announced today by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to address Tokyo’s illegal ivory trade as a missed opportunity. Tokyo’s short-term plan is focused only on consumer awareness and falls dramatically short of expectations for substantive action, instead replicating previous failed awareness efforts by Japan’s national government.
Japanese Retailers Willing to Sell Ivory Hanko for Illegal Export
Investigations of Japanese hanko retailers revealed that many are willing to sell an ivory product knowing that it will be exported internationally despite most being aware that ivory export is illegal.
Follow us @eiaenvironment on twitter for the latest updates!