Ebay bans the sale of elephant ivory
October 21, 2008
Ebay — the world’s leading online auction house — banned the sale of ivory products to help protect elephants from poaching, the company announced Monday.
The move — which goes into effect December and will be enforced starting January 1, 2009 — comes after a campaign by environmental groups, which last year led the company to prohibit international sale of ivory products. Exceptions to the ban include products made before 1900 that contain small amounts of ivory.
eBay posted the following on its official blog:
“eBay recognizes the distinct responsibilities that come along with the unique attributes of our global marketplace. That’s why, in keeping with the principles established under CITES, eBay banned cross-border sales of ivory in 2007. This ban tried to balance the protection of endangered and protected species while also providing a way for sellers to offer legitimate ivory products legally allowed for sale within domestic markets. However, given the complexities of the global ivory trade, and the distinct and unique characteristics of the eBay Marketplace, the sale of any ivory on our site continued to be a concern within the company and among stakeholders.”
“In reviewing this issue, eBay has consulted with a number of organizations, including World Wildlife Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Humane Society of the United States, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The team concluded that we simply can’t ensure that ivory listed for sale on eBay is in compliance with the complex regulations that govern its sale. So, to protect our buyers and sellers, as well as animals in danger of extinction, eBay has decided to institute a global ban on the sale of all types of ivory. This global ban will be effective January 1, 2009.”
The company said it works with international and domestic law enforcement authorities to help with investigations into the sale of illegal ivory.
A series of studies have revealed that elephant poaching for ivory is again on the rise following a decline after the 1979 ivory trade ban. Fueling the resurgence is demand from China, although investigations have revealed the U.S. to be the second largest market for elephant ivory. Pachyderm populations are falling in many countries where law enforcement is weak or non-existent, especially Central Africa and Zimbabwe. Criminal gangs are said to be controlling the trade.