The “evil” ivory trade must be completely banned and outlawed globally in order to protect the world’s elephant population, Catholic Concern for Animals has urged.
The Catholic animal welfare group has warned failure to do so would see the market move from location to location.
Catholic Concern for Animals’ (CCA) call comes as Save The Elephants, a Kenya-based conservation group, revealed that the illegal sale of African ivory in Laos is surging even as neighbouring China phases out its own legal market.
CCA said it is “dismayed but not totally surprised” by news that the ivory trade appears to be surging in Laos as China is taking action to end ivory trading.
Chris Fegan, CCA chief executive, explained that people involved in the “awful activity” will simply move from location to location. “It is seemingly always the case that as one market for Ivory closes then another one opens, fuelled by greed and ignorance,” Mr Fegan said.
“The only way to protect the world elephant population is to ban and outlaw the sale of ivory including antique ivory.
“A recent report has shown that African elephants are killed at a rate of one every 15 minutes for their tusks.”
The number of Chinese outlets selling elephant ivory significantly between 2013 and 2016, and the majority of buyers in Laos were visitors from China, according to a report by Save The Elephants.
China, the world’s largest ivory consumer, has said it plans to shut down its legal ivory trade by the end of this year.
Picture: Thai customs officers with seized ivory being smuggled from the Congo to Laos.