The Wildlife Conservation Society said in a new paper that all existing ivory must be destroyed and legal ivory markets must be shuttered, according to Science 2.0.
“If we are to conserve remaining wild populations of elephants, we must close all markets because, under current levels of corruption, they cannot be controlled in a way that does not provide opportunities for illegal ivory being laundered into legal markets,” said Dr. Elizabeth Bennett, the author of the paper. Bennett is the Wildlife Conservation Society Vie President for Species Conservation.
To write the paper, Bennett researched the corruption index of 177 countries. She was able to note that six of the 12 countries in Africa that have elephants fall in the bottom 40 percent. To make matters worse, Bennett found that six of the eight countries named by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as having heavy ivory trafficking globally are in the bottom half of the most corrupt countries in the entire world.
Bennett said, “In the long term, the only sustainable solution is for the demand for ivory – the ultimate driver of the system – to be reduced. Until that happens, if elephants are to survive, we need to close existing legal markets.”