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Japan’s Illegal Ivory Trade and Fraudulent Registration of Ivory Tusks

Though frequently highlighted as a model of domestic ivory control, Japan’s system is plagued by loopholes and undercut by weak legislation to such an extent that no meaningful control exists at even the most basic level. The volume of ivory being traded is on the rise, illegal activity is rampant, and abuse of the system is pervasive. The international trade in elephant ivory is governed by the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). In 1989, in response to the first global elephant poaching crisis of the 1970s and 80s, the international trade in ivory was banned.

During the summer of 2015, investigators undertook an undercover survey of ivory traders in Japan in order to gain a better understanding of the extent to which loopholes in the whole tusk registration system were being abused. Expecting to find perhaps a few bad actors, the investigators instead discovered that the majority (80 percent) of ivory traders they spoke with were willing to engage in illegal tusk registration activity, ranging from purchasing an unregistered ivory tusk of unknown origin, to registering ivory tusks through the use of false information.

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Recent Videos

New York Ivory Crush
08/04/2017
New York state destroyed nearly two tons of ivory in Central Park
The Dirty Secrets of Japan’s Illegal Ivory Trade
09/27/2016
New evidence reveals a twenty year history of broken commitments by Japan to enact effective controls to prevent poached tusks from being sold domestically or for illegal export.
Tell Yahoo! Japan to Stop Ivory Sales!
Yahoo! Japan is the largest internet seller of ivory in the world. Lend your voice and tell Yahoo! Japan to cease all ivory sales to protect elephants!
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