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Record weights of ivory seizures

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

According to new data released by the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS), more than 42 tonnes of ivory was seized across the world in 2019. ETIS, a database that records the levels of illegal trade in elephant specimens, was set up in 1998 under the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) to track trends and changes in the illegal trade of ivory.

A joint press release on March 24th 2021 from CITES, ETIS and TRAFFIC (the wildlife trade monitoring network) noted that 2019 was categorised by “three exceptionally large raw ivory seizures in Asia” including:

• 7,482kg in China
• 8,79kg in Singapore
• 9,104kg in Vietnam

These seizures mark some of the highest weights in raw ivory recorded since the inception of ETIS in 1998 and present real concern as to the continued size of the illegal wildlife trade. Whilst these ivory seizures do indicate promising signs of enhanced enforcement efforts, DSWF remains incredibly concerned by the continued demand for ivory products and the subsequent poaching of elephants throughout Africa and Asia.

The joint press release also highlighted there remain serious reporting gaps in ivory seizures across the world. Of the 45 countries that submitted data to ETIS since 2013, 23 have yet to submit reports for 2018-2019 meaning that seizure numbers are likely to be much higher than originally indicated.

The latest statistics from ETIS highlights we must step up our fight to protect elephants.

At DSWF, we believe in a holistic approach to conservation that takes into consideration the vital importance of people in the fight to protect elephants. By investing in economically and socially vulnerable communities at the heart of the conservation landscape, we support programmes that tackle the drivers of wildlife crime. By supporting law enforcement operations, undercover investigations, education and poverty alleviation strategies we have a real impact, on real people, in real places, as we fight to turn the tide on extinction.

DSWF also works in wildlife consumer countries to end the demand and trade in wildlife products and engages in both the national and international policy arena to fight for the toughest protectionist policies for elephants. To see how you can help protect elephants and ensure a world in which humans and wildlife can coexist for years to come, please head to our elephant conservation page.

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