Elephant trade information system
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CITES elephant trade ETIS | Journal of African Elephants
Do not have an account? Please register here for your personal account free of charge. How it all began. Age Determination Origin Determination. Analyze now Age Determination Origin Determination. Two-thirds of the ivory for which Kenya and Tanzania either seized themselves or were implicated in since represented large-scale consignments, indicating a strong presence of organised criminal activity behind the trafficking from these countries. In terms of governance, the mean rule of law score is the third most problematic in this analysis, indicating that corruption could be a significant factor in the trade.
But this worrisome result could be offset by the law enforcement effort ratio of this group, which is tied for the second best score in this analysis. Further, the domestic market score for Kenya and Tanzania is the lowest in this assessment which points to active suppression of local trade in ivory curios given the large tourist industries found in both countries. This group exhibits a high value for the mean number of seizures during the period Indeed, both Hong Kong SAR and Uganda have greatly increased the number of seizures being made and reported to ETIS during this period, whereas the number of seizures made and reported by Viet Nam has actually declined; equally, Viet Nam and Uganda were more frequently implicated in seizures made by others, whilst Hong Kong shows considerable decline in this respect.
This group exhibits the third highest value for weight, indicating that numerous seizures continue to be large-scale events. Over threequarters of the weight of the ivory seized involved shipments that are over kg of ivory, which points to the involvement of organised criminal groups. Although a slight negative value, the governance measure for rule of law falls in the middle, whilst the law enforcement effort ratio is fairly robust, indicating reasonably good law enforcement performance.
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Group 5 — China CN : As before on every occasion, China falls into a single country cluster as the attributes of its ivory trade remain uniquely dissimilar to all other countries under consideration. Once again, China has the highest values for the mean number of seizures and the mean weight of ivory seized, according to seizures data, with the country continuing to be a major destination for illicit ivory. The proportion of seizures that involved large movements of ivory, and hence the presence of higher-level organised crime, has decreased somewhat to about half of the weight of ivory seized when compared to previous assessments.
The high number of non-criminal seizures with low weight values indicates ongoing commitment in terms of policing people and cargo coming into China. Since , successive ETIS analyses have identified the Chinese market as the key driver behind illicit trade in ivory, a finding that remains true in this current assessment as well. In terms of reporting to ETIS, India is the exception and it is noteworthy that no data has been received from the India government for some nine years, yet evidence of illegal ivory trafficking was regularly reported in local media in that country.
Falling in the middle in terms of the mean number of seizures, and showing a low mean weight value, this grouping is not particularly noteworthy. Further, none of the seizures have involved large ivory consignments of kg or more so there is little to suggest active organised criminal activity. Assessing governance, the mean rule of law measure shows a negative value which could signal corruption problems, but the very high law enforcement effort ratio seems to indicate generally good performance where ivory trade is concerned.
Finally, with a very low market score, this group of countries does not appear to play an obvious problematic role at the retail level, but no market surveys in Sudan have transpired in recent years. Indeed, that Thailand and South Africa now fall in this cluster represents a positive shift since Ethiopia is in this cluster given its role as a major air transport hub connecting Africa with Asia. Collectively, this group falls in the upper middle range in terms of frequency and scale, but the mean weight variable is artificially lower than it should be in that much of the raw ivory generated in these countries loses its identity as it moves along the trade chain.
Removing the positive influence of Ethiopia from this cluster, the law enforcement effort ratio sinks to the second lowest position in this analysis because most countries in the group are rarely making seizures.
In terms of large-scale ivory movements, about half of the seizures appear to have involved organised criminal elements, which is a greater value than was the case in the CoP16 analysis for most of these countries. The domestic ivory market score is also relatively high, largely owing to the situation in Nigeria and Thailand, although the Thai market has experienced major decline following implementation of new legislation TRAFFIC, in prep. Other former markets, such as Congo, Cameroon, Ethiopia and Gabon have taken active measures to suppress local ivory markets and appear to be sustaining this challenge with relative success Martin and Vigne, ; Sone Nkoke et al.
These countries regularly report data to ETIS. In terms of all data which implicate these countries in an ivory seizure, this southern African grouping reflects middle range values in terms of mean number of seizures and the mean weight of ivory seized. The measure for assessing the presence of organised crime stands at zero which is indisputably a good sign. Governance indicators are mixed, however, with the rule of law score problematic and suggesting the presence of corruption, but the relatively high law enforcement ratio partially mitigates that concern.
The domestic ivory market score is low, reflecting the complete absence of a market in Botswana and a very low level of trade in Namibia. Again, Zimbabwe is the exception with the tenth largest ivory market of any country in this analysis. In terms of frequency, this group almost never made and reported seizures, and was rarely otherwise involved in the trade chains of seizures reported by other countries.
Thus, this group has the lowest mean number of seizures, however, interdictions typically involve the large ivory weight class. The governance indicator for rule of law is relatively high, but there is considerable variability within the group, with most entities providing positive scores, however, Lao PDR, the Philippines and Rwanda contribute negative scores. On the other hand, the law enforcement ratio is second poorest score overall in this analysis which is probably why these countries are chosen as pathways for large-scale movements of ivory that are orchestrated by organised crime syndicates; indeed, almost all of the weight of ivory seized represented shipments of kg or more.
Consequently, some countries in this group could emerge or re-emerge, in the case of the Philippines as important transit points in the future. The mid-range market score is mostly driven by the situation in Lao PDR, which appears to be growing Krishnasamy, in prep. This group collectively displays commendable governance values with the highest scores for rule of law and the second highest law enforcement ratio.
The cluster is also not implicated in any large-scale ivory seizures indicating a general absence of higher level organised criminal activity. The domestic ivory market score is in the lower middle range, reflecting the situation in the United States and Germany where active domestic ivory trade in mostly pre-Convention and antique items occurs.
The governance indicators are mid-range with the rule of law score barely positive but a more robust law enforcement ratio, although the latter score is somewhat compromised by the fact that Italy has not reported any ivory seizures to ETIS in over six years. Since , there is no evidence of involvement in largescale flows of ivory. The domestic ivory market score is the third lowest in this analysis with a general absence of trade activity in the three European countries, but Egypt harbours one of the largest unregulated ivory markets that reportedly fails to meet the requirements of Resolution Conf.
These countries almost never made and reported ivory seizures to ETIS, indeed, only eight cases for seven countries over the three-year period, , but they were collectively implicated in seizures made in other countries. Both the mean number of seizures and the mean weight are modest for this group. None of the seizures data, however, seemed to involve movements of ivory over kg in a single shipment. This group has the worst scores in terms of the governance indicators: the mean rule of law is the lowest of all groups, as is the law enforcement effort ratio. Japan is a longstanding end-use market, including a participant in both of the one-off ivory sales under CITES since the trade ban, whilst the contemporary ivory trades to the United Kingdom and Spain typically involve non-commercial seizures from tourists.
It is worth noting that only the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom have regularly provided seizure data to ETIS since and they collectively accounted for two-thirds of all seizures reported by this group. With the exception of the United Kingdom, all of these countries are far more likely to be implicated in seizures that are made elsewhere. For this cluster, both the mean number of seizures and the mean weight of ivory seized fall right in the mid-range of this analysis. Worryingly, this cluster has the third highest value for the proportion of seizures that involved kg of ivory or more, the indicator that signals the involvement of organised crime in the trade.
This latter result is primarily due to the fact that, in , the second largest ivory seizure ever recorded in ETIS was shipped from Lome, Togo to Algeciras, Spain for transhipment on to Malaysia. Overall, the governance indicator for rule of law is extremely positive, however, the contribution of individual countries is highly variable for such an eclectic group. This group ranks the third lowest in terms of law enforcement ratio and only the United Kingdom seems to contribute decidedly positive values to the collective score.
This group also has the second highest domestic ivory market score as all countries except the United Arab Emirates and Spain have significant markets. On the basis of this analysis, Malawi, Singapore and Togo now emerge as countries which the Parties could consider for inclusion in the CITES oversight process to address illegal trade in ivory. Most of this traffic is directed through Indian Ocean seaports, but air transport is also a factor in the trade. In addition, ivory from Mozambique, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo was also part of this traffic, according to forensic research to determine ivory origin Wasser, et al.
Since , corruption issues have continued to be a major problem in all three countries, with various reports documenting serious governance shortfalls at ports of entry and exit, within government institutions charged with protecting wildlife, and by political and economic elites in these countries, including ivory stock thefts, and various judicial failings such as ordering the release of seized ivory or suspects on bail, or imposing mediocre penalties Vogt, ; Anon.
Figure 8: Law enforcement ratio for large-scale ivory seizures which involve Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda as part of the trade chain ETIS 25 January Since these countries have become part of the NIAP process, it would appear that some progress is being made. Assuming that countries further along the trade are continuing to make seizures and correctly identify the trade chains for the seizures they make, Figure 8 shows that, since , Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda seem to have met with greater success in interdicting large-scale movements of ivory prior to export abroad.
Moreover, criminal suspects have been arrested in conjunction with some of these seizures. Kenya has increased penalties for wildlife trafficking in national legislation Wildlife Direct, , and courts in Tanzania recently rendered the highest penalties ever for ivory trafficking in Africa with two Chinese nationals each sentenced to 30 years in prison or fines of nearly USD25 million dollars Ally, This all bodes well for the future and, if the pattern of active engagement seen in the data since mid can be further sustained, these countries will certainly improve their standing in future ETIS analyses.
Togo and Malawi are noted as priority countries of concern for the first time in this report. For example, the largest ivory seizure ever made and reported to ETIS, involving over seven tonnes of ivory, was exported from Malawi in ; it is worth remembering that local Asian criminal syndicates were identified in the case, but none were ever arrested and prosecuted EIA, As progress is made in shutting down the East African ivory trading hub, a shift to Malawi is very possible and clearly something to guard against.
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Since , China has allowed a domestic ivory trade subject to strict regulation which has previously been described in SC53 Doc. Following CoP16, the Chinese government clarified the necessity for accredited ivory dealers to have and publicly display ivory product certification cards for all retail inventory and that such cards must be given to consumers at the time of purchase.
Since , law enforcement actions in China stand behind at least seven manufacturers and 27 accredited retailers losing their licences Anon. Prior to the U. Later in the year, further measures prohibited the import of elephant trophy imports through 15 October ; both of these trade bans, and a ban on pre-Convention ivory carvings, were then subsequently extended through December SFA, Awareness raising activities, including two highly-publicized ivory destruction events, and various demand reduction initiatives, are presently unfolding in China. Dedicated law enforcement to interdict ivory coming into China and to ferret out illicit ivory trade in the Chinese market and through the internet has also continued, including some novel partnerships with NGOs and private sector players.
Such trade obviously presents difficult law enforcement challenges not just for China but for countries all over the world. In the meantime, Hong Kong SAR authorities have announced steps to improve law enforcement and trade regulation on various fronts. The ETIS data, however, suggest that the number of seizures made by Hong Kong SAR authorities in the period has more than tripled over the previous three-year period, demonstrating increased attention to policing air cargo and passengers arriving in the city.
Ivory seized in airport luggage
Further, the government of Hong Kong SAR, like the Chinese government, has suggested that a total ivory trade ban may be imposed in the near future, but precise plans and a time table have yet to be articulated. Recalling that broad confidence intervals fall around these mean values, nonetheless there is a suggestion that further expansion of the Chinese ivory market has been somewhat arrested and decline could potentially become more rapid under the right set of circumstances.
The greatest impediment to major improvement seems to rest on the fact that Chinese nationals remain prominently engaged in the procurement of illegal ivory in African source countries.
At the present time, Asian criminal networks, often in collaboration with local political and economic elites, completely dominant the supply of raw ivory out of Africa. All of this connection to the supply side of the equation directly serves to undermine the positive commitment being made on the Chinese home front to curtail illegal ivory commerce. Failure to address this issue within Africa will certainly compromise progress moving forward. Of particular concern are a series of villages in the vicinity of Hanoi that reportedly support a growing cross-border market in wildlife products with China with relative impunity Liu, ; Ammann, The open display of ivory and other wildlife products such as rhino horn in these markets indicates a lack of targeted law enforcement action in Viet Nam; indeed, not a single ivory seizure case reported to ETIS by Viet Nam in this period concerns law enforcement action in the market place.
Another issue of increasing concern is the number of Vietnamese nationals being apprehended in or coming from Africa with ivory, including instances that appear to be orchestrated by criminal syndicates operating in Angola, Mozambique, South Africa and Togo, according to ETIS seizure data. As such, both countries serve exclusively as transit countries in the trade chains that link African suppliers with Asian end-use markets. In the analysis presented at CoP16, and again in this one, Malaysia remains the leading transit destination for large ivory consignments.
The scale of the trade directed to Malaysia remains a serious concern and has increased in the more recent period, although law enforcement authorities in the country have made fewer seizures than was the case in the period The trade through Singapore, possibly now being used an alternative to Malaysia, has also grown far more prominent in the recent period In this regard, both countries need to focus upon risk assessment, intelligence gathering and targeting with respect to containerised sea and air cargo moving between Africa and prominent destination locations in Asia; the use of controlled deliveries and sniffer dogs is another important consideration for supporting effective law enforcement.