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Vietnam fuelling growth of illegal ivory trade, conservation group Save the Elephants says

Vietnam fuelling growth of illegal ivory trade, conservation group Save the Elephants says

Vietnam

An elephant conservation group released a report on Tuesday in Nairobi, Kenya, indicating that Vietnam is one of the world biggest illegal ivory markets.

Sales of ivory have increased six fold over the last seven years, while the number of ivory artisans has increased 10 fold during the same period.

Law enforcement is very important, but it is not enough. Fundamentally there has to be a change in human beliefs and attitudes towards a species like the elephant

Fueling the growth of illegal Ivory trade in the country is weak legislation structures especially in rural areas.

“In Vietnam a crafts man will earn between $200 to $400 a month, while in China an equivalent craftsman will earn over $1,000 a month, some will even earn $2,000,” said Esmond Martin an Ivory Reseacher.

Conservationists are now calling for more prosecution on poachers and deeper cooperation across borders to fight ivory trade.

“Law enforcement is very important, but it is not enough. Fundamentally there has to be a change in human beliefs and attitudes towards a species like the elephant, and an understanding that, it’s in our path to destroy or to save the African elephant,” said Ian Douglas,CEO of Save the Elephants.

Vietnam only allows ivory obtained before 1992 to be traded legally, making it difficult to track ivory stock on sale.

In late April, Kenya burnt 105 tons of ivory estimated to be worth over $170 million dollars, the biggest haul in history, sending a clear message that trade in animal parts must be halted.

The east African nation will be seeking a total global ban on ivory sales when the the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meet in Johannesburg, South Africa, from September 24 to October 5 2016.

CITES had banned trade in African elephant ivory in 1989, but, had permitted one- off sales.

From a high of 1.2 million elephants in the 1970’s, the number of elephants roaming in Africa’s parks has plunged to 400,000 presently.

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