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It makes not one iota of difference to me personally if a decision is made to ban the trade in Ivory in part, or in full in the UK. With concrete certainty, the complete ban which is already in place for modern Ivory in the UK (Ivory harvested after 1947), should be and should have been enforced at a much more stringent degree than it is.

The two or three cases that have shown up in court in the UK since the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), introduced new guidance from the European Commission on the interpretation of the "worked item" derogation in May 2013, have caused some confusion, and left those contrevening the law with a financial penalty in some cases, and a slap-on-the-wrist type sentence in others (Abbas Allawi is sentenced to 14 months for trying to sell on Instagram endangered animal parts worth up to £2m). I never thought that was good enough. The threat of jail is one thing, but it's the length of sentence that really matters, and a standard 10 year sentence for anyone caught dealing in modern and poached ivory that contravines the law, seems about right under the circumstances. Perhaps some form of international standard jail sentence for traffickers, poachers and African government officials complicit in the illegal ivory trade over the past ten years should be on an agenda at next year's illegal wildlife trade meeting in London? Or, will this be a meeting for politicians and NGO activists looking for a way to gain popularity and leverage into the empathy that exists for animals in general, as opposed taking down the bad guys in the bloody and sordid battle to save the elephant?  God forbid those involved on the ground throughout Africa, walk away from this two thirds since 1979 depletion in elephant numbers, with the assumption or impression that crime pays. 

Time will tell, I guess.

The African individuals who cull these magnificent animals for what is effectively their teeth, should be taught a lesson that scares the living daylights out of anyone considering trafficking poached Ivory. They are the cause of the decimated elephant population, not antiques dealers, not 18th century artists, not museums, and not traders in the markets or fairs in London, or any European city for that matter.

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Most illegal ivory trafficking and poaching has been carried out under the watchful instruction of you guessed it, corrupt African governments (unless you are in Cameroon, where it is still legal to trade in poached Ivory of course), and the rampant slaughter of elephants is carried out by Africans with guns in an over populated broke part of the world, with easy money roaming about in the savannahs. 

Corrupt African government officials say "jump", Africans with guns looking to feed a family for a month for the cost of two bullets, say "how high." The problem is and has been that simple.


The biggest culprit in the slaughter of elephants is Robert Mugabe, now apparently living a retirement life of luxury at the population of Zimbabwe's expense. Noticeable is the absence of any reference to Mugabe in the 'Stop Ivory' campaign headed up by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) on their fake news website - and I'm not the only one to point out the EIA's inconsistencies, or as we put it in a previous article, lies. Below taken from an article published in 2014 by Daniel Stiles on the National Geographic website.

“These statistics illustrate very well indeed that the ivory industry of Japan since the late 1980s has experienced a massive decline,” and “probably the most surprising finding of this survey was the unexpectedly small size of the local market in China,” said Martin and Stiles in 2003:The Ivory Markets of East Asia report.

In spite of hard evidence to the contrary, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) continues to claim that the 1999 sale stimulated demand and “substantially compromised its [the ban’s] integrity, effectiveness, and enforceability,” according to Allan Thornton in Russo’s essay.

eia1 Ms. Mary Rice, Executive Director of the Environmental Investigation Agency 

With so much elephant blood on Mugabe's (and other African Dictators) hands, it's a wonder that much of the press and NGOs like the EIA writing on this subject in the past, have elected to hardly mention Mugabe / Zimbabawe's part in the decreasing numbers of elephants on Africa's plains; numbers which, according to numerous reports, are down from 1.3m elephants in 1979, to an estimated 415k in 2017. If you didn't already know, Mugabe was Prime MInister of Zimbabwe / Rhodesia from 1980 and President from 1987 to 2017.

What's needed in Zimbabwe is a re-introduction of good old colonialism, which creates jobs, creates wealth and a standard of living. Mugabe, as the world well knows, decimated elephant numbers, decimated jobs and aspirations for the Zimbabwean population, and has stolen a country's natural resources and wealth for his own personal gain. And they afford him a life of luxury as punishment, assuming of course that all that one reads is to be believed. In any event, what a message to send to a population / continent. Be a criminal, commit genocide and crimes against humanity, and then retire in luxury? Chain him up and charge him, otherwise, we just assume he's still in charge, and so does everyone else.

At 96 years old - and quite rightly - Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court just sentenced Oskar Groening - "the accountant of Auschwitz'' - who is expected to begin his sentence in jail anytime now.

Just because Mugabe is black, Zimbabwean and elderly, that doesn't mean the international community and the Zimbabwe legal community should be letting him and his close associates get away with genocide, crimes against humanity, wildlife crimes beyond anything the world has ever known, and ethnic and racial cleansing in Zimbabwe, should it now?

Mugabe did, after all, ethnically cleanse Zimbabwe by removing white farmers and confiscating their land, thus causing not only hardship to the landowners, but also to the 1000s of African people and their families that worked the farms, lived on the farms, and had their children educated at schools provided by the farm landowners, went to church on the farms and earnt a living and a future for their children, on the farms.

What is all this recent news out of Zimbabwe, we screwed all the white farmers out of their land, killed all the elephants and stashed the cash, and now that we have no money left, let's talk? Sure feels like it.

Chain Mugabe up, charge him, send him to jail and then, re-introduce colonialism.

Robert Mugabe May 2015 croppedRobert Mugabe 

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You may also like to read:

*  American Ivory Ban Does Not Address Real Cause

*  Exclusive: footage shows young elephants being captured in Zimbabwe for Chinese zoos

*  The Environmental Investigation Agency Have Some Questions To Answer


*  Corruption fuelling ivory trade in central Africa


About the Author

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee founded his antique business in 1994. Having bought his first Antique piece at the tender age of eleven, it has since then been his passion for Antiques, Fine Art, and aesthetically beautif...