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Chinese President’s Delegation Tied to Illegal Ivory Purchases During Africa Visit

Hi everyone,

Things have been a little quiet after the march but there’s still lots going on. As a relative newcomer to advocacy  I am beginning to realize that advocating for “species at risk” is a marathon not a sprint. I just hope there is enough time to stop the eradication of elephants, lions, tigers, rhinos, apes, pangolins etc..(and I don’t use “etc” lightly here but the list does go on and on and on.)

The one thing I’ve learned is that we’re all too blame. This isn’t a case of this being someone else’s problem. This is our problem. Each one of us, every country around the globe allows the mass extinction of species by either not speaking up or being actively complicit.

IVORY-tmagArticleIn the case of China it’s all those things and more. Growth of the Chinese middle class fueled by one of the world’s strongest economies has increased the cultural taste for ivory. Some people believe (apparently) that many Chinese believe that tusks simply fall off elephants or are only taken from elephants who have died naturally. Even Hallmark was recently promoting ivory as a 14th anniversary wedding gift until public reaction and advocates obligated them to take it down and re-write their catalogue. I want to believe that we live in a day and age where gross public misinformation isn’t possible but in the case of China, a closed society in many ways, it is possible. And of course, it’s not just China – it’s the communities that allow their wildlife to be bought and shot and killed. Poverty, lack of education, greed, transit countries, laws that aren’t enforced and those of us who stand idly by,  are all co-conspirators in the death or shall we say the murder of wildlife.

I’m sharing this article published in the New York Times. Global March for Elephant organizers will be organizing protests all the over world in front of Chinese consulates. They might be in it for the long game but so are we. As long as the long game doesn’t mean that no elephant is left standing because of the greedy need for ivory – ivory a word I hate using because of course, a tusk is what belongs to an elephant – ivory is the human objectification of that animal’s tusk.

05sino-ivory02-tmagArticle

Chinese President’s Delegation Tied to Illegal Ivory Purchases During Africa Visit

BEIJING — When President Xi Jinping of China and his entourage of government officials and business leaders arrived in Tanzania in March 2013, it was to officially promote economic ties between the two countries.

But according to a report by the Environmental Investigation Agency, a nongovernmental organization based in London, members of the Chinese delegation used Mr. Xi’s visit as an opportunity to procure so much illegal ivory that local prices doubled to about $318 a pound. Two weeks before Mr. Xi arrived, Chinese buyers purchased thousands of pounds of poached tusks, which were “later sent to China in diplomatic bags on the presidential plane,” said the report, which was released on Wednesday.

The Chinese government has been trying to prove itself a responsible state actor that is serious about abolishing corruption and abiding by international law. But the report, “Vanishing Point: Criminality, Corruption and the Devastation of Tanzania’s Elephants,” details Chinese diplomats and military personnel colluding with Tanzanian officials and Chinese crime syndicates to send illegal ivory to China, decimating Tanzania’s elephant population in the process. Read more here.

We all need China to stop this. They have to stop or we’ll lose one of the world’s greatest keystone species – a species that has roamed this planet for millions of years. I don’t want to be the generation that allows this to happen. Because it will happen with elephants and every other animal and species until there’s nothing left. Please share share share.

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