Burning the Future of Species

This is a guest post on the illegal Ivory Trade by my friend Gillian Rooke.


There was once a stamp collector who had one of only two rare stamps. He went to an auction and paid a fortune to buy the other.

His friend asked him; ‘Why did you pay all that?  You already have one.’

In answer he lit a match and burned the stamp he had just bought, and said to his friend, ‘I bought it because I wanted to have the last remaining one.  And now I do.’

Burning a stockpile of ivory is just as insane.  Would the people contemplating this please ask themselves what would happen to the price of diamonds if De Beers destroyed their stockpile?

If something becomes more rare, it becomes more valuable, and collectors will take even greater risks to obtain it.  Burning the ivory stockpile will increase poaching and could prove the death knell for the remaining wile elephants and rhino.

Before the ivory ban was imposed there were some farmers planning to keep elephant for their ivory.  If you can look at this idea without the false and damaging emotion of the Born Free myth, you might just see that this is the only way to keep such large and valuable animals as elephant and rhino from extinction.

When the ban on trading ivory was introduced, surveillance technology and customs inspection was in its infancy.  Methods for discovering contraband have improved in leaps and bounds, and with modern tagging the difference between legal and illegal ivory passing through ports, or on sale at auction, can be easily detected.

If the illegal ivory trade can be made uneconomic, then poaching of elephant and rhino may just possibly be controlled.

Extinction is such an ugly word.


Dead+elephantby g rooke



One response

  1. I don’t understand my fellow humans sometime. To me, it’s evil to kill an animal for something like its tusks. Here in the South, there are hunters who will kill a deer, saw off its rack, and leave the rest to rot. I’m not against hunting; I grew up in the country where hunting was and is a way of life. But most eat the animal, not take a trophy.


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