Nomad Africa Magazine - - Nature & Wildlife -

the en­ergy, food and fi­nan­cial needs of our species pit us against var­i­ous flora and fauna in our com­plex ecosys­tems. But hu­man en­croach­ment on habi­tats and mi­gra­tion routes is not the only way we are fac­ing off with wildlife. Hu­mans are also ac­tively wip­ing out iconic species like the ele­phant, lion and rhino by turn­ing them into com­modi­ties.

Only three years ago, the tusks of one ele­phant could fetch up to USD 300,000. The price had tripled fol­low­ing once-off sales of ivory stock­piles to Ja­pan and China in 1999 and 2008 as well as the down­list­ing of the species to Ap­pen­dix II by the Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Trade in En­dan­gered Species (CITES). The move al­lowed lim­ited trade of ivory and trig­gered a surge in poach­ing on the con­ti­nent, re­vers­ing the con­ser­va­tion gains made since the ban­ning of in­ter­na­tional ivory trade in 1989.

The mar­ket had shifted over the years, and more buy­ers were in­vest­ing in raw ivory to carve lux­ury col­lectibles and trin­kets as part of China’s cul­tural her­itage. Although the price of ivory is drop­ping now that China banned ivory sales and pro­cess­ing, we are still los­ing ele­phants at an alarm­ing rate. An av­er­age of 96 ele­phants die ev­ery day, and each tusk con­tin­ues to fuel a global web of or­gan­ised crime. Ele­phants are not the only vic­tims of a grow­ing in­ter­na­tional in­dus­try of le­gal— and il­le­gal—wildlife goods. The African

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