Elephant ivory continues to be disguised and bought on eBay

Newswise — Analysis from the College of Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) has discovered that elephant ivory continues to be being bought on the web market eBay, regardless of its 10-year-old coverage banning the commerce in ivory.

The trafficking of wildlife over the web continues to be an issue, with the detection of criminal activity being difficult. Regardless of efforts of regulation enforcement, the demand for unlawful wildlife merchandise on-line has continued to extend. In some circumstances distributors have adopted the usage of ‘code phrases’ to disguise the sale of illicit gadgets.

Sofia Venturini and Dr David Roberts of DICE investigated the misrepresentation of supplies in commercial descriptions of netsuke being bought on eBay UK. Netsuke are carved objects, connected to the wire of the Japanese kimono and are sometimes made from elephant ivory.

A comparability was made between the supplies declared by the distributors and the authors’ identification primarily based on the photographs within the ads. Because it was not ethically fascinating to acquire the bodily gadgets for evaluation, the researchers verified genuine elephant ivory by analysing the presence of Schreger traces (a singular sample present in elephant ivory).

The researchers discovered that genuine elephant ivory was most regularly described as bone in listings of netsuke. Additional, by returning a month later they discovered that solely a small share (between 1.3% and 6.9%) of those netsuke made from elephant ivory had been eliminated by eBay. Over half had been bought, whereas among the many gadgets that remained unsold, half had been relisted. If eBay was successfully implementing its coverage (launched in 2008) on ivory, this stuff would have been eliminated.

Dr Roberts mentioned: ‘Regardless of eBay’s strict coverage on Animal and Wildlife Merchandise, there’s nonetheless an ongoing commerce in ivory, largely hid as different non-restricted supplies. Whereas detecting unlawful gross sales of ivory gadgets will be significantly troublesome as, for instance, the phrase “ivory” can be utilized to explain a color, firms like eBay have the assets and knowledge that might be mobilised to sort out the problem of unlawful wildlife commerce.’


Their analysis paper ‘Disguising elephant ivory as different supplies within the on-line commerce’ is printed by Tropical Conservation Science. DOI: 10.1177/1940082920974604

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