Elephant ivory continues to be disguised and offered on eBay

Analysis from the College of Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) has discovered that elephant ivory remains to be being offered on the net 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 criminality being difficult. Regardless of efforts of legislation enforcement, the demand for unlawful wildlife merchandise on-line has continued to extend. In some circumstances distributors have adopted using ‘code phrases’ to disguise the sale of illicit objects.

Sofia Venturini and Dr David Roberts of DICE investigated the misrepresentation of supplies in commercial descriptions of netsuke being offered on eBay UK. Netsuke are carved objects, connected to the wire of the Japanese kimono and are sometimes manufactured 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 objects for evaluation, the researchers verified genuine elephant ivory by analysing the presence of Schreger traces (a novel sample present in elephant ivory).

The researchers discovered that genuine elephant ivory was most incessantly 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 manufactured from elephant ivory had been eliminated by eBay. Over half had been offered, whereas among the many objects that remained unsold, half had been relisted. If eBay was successfully imposing its coverage (launched in 2008) on ivory, this stuff would have been eliminated.

Dr Roberts stated: ‘Regardless of eBay’s strict coverage on Animal and Wildlife Merchandise, there may be nonetheless an ongoing commerce in ivory, principally hid as different non-restricted supplies. Whereas detecting unlawful gross sales of ivory objects might be significantly troublesome as, for instance, the phrase “ivory” can be utilized to explain a color, firms like eBay have the sources and knowledge that could possibly be mobilised to deal with 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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