A ban should mean a ban

Dear Friends of Wildlife

So I watched Panorama – Ivory Wars: Out of Africa last night (12th April 2012) and maybe it’s just because I am immersed in this issue (and have been for so long) that despite a very impressive presentation by Rageh Omaar and a lot of travel to different places, a number of  key elements seemed to be missing.

The tragedy of the loss of life suffered by rangers and wildlife wardens across Africa at the hands of organised criminal syndicates and their henchmen.

The lack of accountability of the British Government and the other members of the CITES Standing committee who approved Japan and China as ivory trading nations (in 2006 and 2008 respectively) and the subsequent legal sale of more than 100 tonnes of stockpiled ivory to those two nations – which has led directly, in my view, to the massive increase in the price of ivory, the massive increase in illegal shipments and the massive increase in elephant poaching levels.

The burning question is not ‘What’s going on?

It is “What are we going to do about it?” and quite clearly the British Government, the European Union, the international community should, without delay, revoke China and Japan’s ivory trade nations’ status.   There should be no accommodation of any more legal ivory trade – no more stockpile sales, no more ‘one-off sales’ – nada, niente, rien, nichts, nothing.

A ban should mean a ban.  Individual countries should amend their legislation to make it illegal to sell ivory in the airport in Cairo, in the markets of Bangkok and on the street-stalls of Kinshasa.

Only then will the message be loud and clear – as it was twenty years ago.  That ivory is not desirable, it is destructive.  That the ivory trade doesn’t support livelihoods, it steals away life. That ivory, far from being white gold is stained with blood.

Blogging off.


PS  Born Free is trying to help some of the poorest elephant range State countries to protect their elephants and if you would like to help, please check out and donate via www.bloodyivory.org

14 Responses to “A ban should mean a ban”

  1. Robert Jones Says:

    Will, I totally agree — the programme was very disappointing and, for me the heartbreaking minutes after finding one Elephant or a herd without their faces was not covered properly.
    It really is about time the Governments of the World stood up, were counted, and told China to toe the line and behave.

  2. gill gilbey Says:

    yes will,there should be a world ban on selling elephant tusks.china and others should be hit where it hurts,i.e. surely an international hit on all chinese imports.there is not the necessary publicity given to make sure the general public are aware it should be on the news as a major item at least the bbc have made a start.people should be made to realise that if the elephants and rhinos go there will be a hole in Africa and a hole in the world forever.

  3. Donna Mackenzie Says:

    Yes, couldn’t agree more. A complete worldwide ban on any sort of ivory trade is the only solution. Why anyone would want to own a piece of murdered elephant is totally beyond me. The only way I want to even see ivory is attached to a healthy, happy and very much alive elephant.

    Was also horrified to hear the claim in the programme that 7 out of 10 Chinese people don’t know where ivory comes from. What??? Clearly they need to watch Panorama and look at the Born Free website!

  4. Shirlee McCourty Says:

    I so agree with you!..I like many people I am sure, wept througout the programme, but i feel they failed on many fronts to focus on the devestation this evil trade has on the people who try hard to prevent it. The Chinese have a lot to address in their culture…The use of Rhino horn in ancient and useless “medicine”…Pollution…Even if another plastic bag was ever used in britain, it would have little impact on the Eco map (thats not to say we should not do out bit)…For an Animal to die in a cruel and heartless way just for Mans greed in this day and age is totally unacceptable. Maybe one day the World will wake up before it is too late for these beautiful Animals?…I do so hope I live long enough to see a change.

  5. Nilhan Weerasinha Says:

    Yes, couldn’t agree more with all your comments!; very simply Ivory = Murdered Elephant body parts!

  6. Mike Dooley Says:

    I totally agree Will. I also didn’t feel that the programme went far enough into tracking down the kingpins behind the trade. There are vast sums of money involved here. It would be great if convictions could be secured, and asset stripping could be implemented.

  7. Sylvie Van den Bossche Says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more Will!
    Selling off ‘stocks’ was the worst idea ever.Now more Chinese people got a ‘taste’ of it and eventhough I have no idea what the facination or beauty about it is, it’s totally wrong and inhumane..to the animals.
    Chinese people need to be educated and governements need to stop allowing these things.
    Elephants and Rhinos too need to be able to roam their countrysides without the mass cullings that are going on. Poor babies left behind, mostly dying because of their mums being killed! Hurds are dying out and families will no longer excist soon..Very sad.

    I keep on suporting all the wonderful work you are doing and I can’t wait to meet your team in Kenya again in June! Fantastic people and amazing work you are all doing out there!


  8. Sylvie Van den Bossche Says:

    Having that said I must also state that I know that not ALL Chinese people are like that of course!

  9. wendy butler Says:

    I have your “Only elephants should wear ivory” sticker on my front door. Keep campaigning Will. Thank you.

  10. Laura Savill Says:

    I could not agree more with all that has been said now is the time for action – boycott chinese goods, harder sentences for those who deal in ivory and a lot more publicity regarding this issue so it reaches the general public who are usually completely ignorant on what is happening. Some might say that “would it matter” if we lose a species I say lose one link in the evolution chain – we are doomed!

    China is buying up Africa and when it is finished with it it will be tossed aside – China is not going into Africa for any other reasons exept to exploit it!

  11. Dave Brady Says:

    Great piece Will ! Well written and well put !

    I fail to understand how, despite the awareness raised, that those governments and organizations that should know better are still either (a)not doing anything or (b)are doing far too little. They are well aware that they should be addressing the situation but are negligent in their dealing/handling of the matter. Maybe a march to the seat of the powers that be in Eurpoe by thousands of people demanding action be taken might shame them into doing something.

  12. Lorraine Leport Says:

    I totally agree with your comments, whilst stockpiled ivory is legal there will still be a demand and how would it be possible to tell stockpiled ivory from that taken from recently poached elephants. I also feel that there was not enough of the shock impact on the programme, the actual bloody task of getting the ivory, perhaps if viewers had witnessed the barbarity involved, not only with elephants but rhino as well then the programme may have had more impact. I was very angry with our First MInister taking the pandas from China in order to get more trade, I personally don’t want anything from that country.

  13. Linda Burr Says:

    I agree the only way to stop this terrible trade is to keep the ban on meaning no trade and not allow countries to sell off their stockpiled ivory. It gives out the wrong impression and poachers think the market is open again. I can’t believe that people still do not get the message about ivory and buy it. There is nothing nice about it and seeing ornaments especially elephants made out of ivory is gross.

  14. Tania Says:

    Just as horrific as Donald Trumps’ sons showing off their hunting trophies.