Poaching elephants for their ivory had been on the rise between the 1970s and 1980s (tvearchive, 2016). This illegal practice has substantially lessened the number of African elephants and poses a threat to ecology and nature by endangering elephants. Poaching, which is mostly a common problem in Africa, has terrorized specific regions within Africa that lacks effective wildlife protection authority. This essay will explore the uses of ivory, analyze the arguments that are for the ivory ban and that are against the ivory ban, and see who benefits from poaching to better understand the illegal ivory trade.
Ivory has a variety of uses such as being used as exquisite and majestic carved sculptures or keys of grand pianos. However, Japan being the largest consumer of ivory in the world, mainly uses the ivory for Hanko stamps, and contrary to using personal signatures as is done in United States as well as many other countries, Japan favors using the Hanko stamp as a signature which consists of carved ivory (tve archive, 2016).
According to Yuki Sakamoto, the director of the Japan Wildlife Conservation Society, although most ivory carving shops claim to have products from legal ivory which can be proved through government approved certificates, ivory smugglers usually succeed in passing illegal ivory off as legal ivory. Sakamoto also claims that the reason Japanese people are so enchanted by ivory is due to them being told that elephants and ivory are sacred, and they bring good fortune.
There are arguments that both favor poaching and that are against poaching.
Although poaching is a critical problem in many African countries, there are African countries where there is an overpopulation of elephants, and where they’re seen as problem animals due to interrupting day to day life within cities. Therefore, there is an argument by some that if ivory trade was legalized, the overall illegal trade of ivory can be minimized and the overpopulation in some African countries can be fixed. However, there is also an argument that states legalizing ivory trade will, by definition, enhance poaching of elephants and substantially increase the chances of wiping them off the Earth completely. Ultimately, whether poaching poses a problem or not depends on the population of elephants in the particular country, the effectiveness of the wildlife protection authority, and laws pertaining ivory within the country.
Those who suffer an overpopulation of elephants could benefit from poaching by having cities and lives free of elephants killing people and ruining crops, and obviously those who smuggle ivory earn incredible profits. However, this doesn’t make poaching okay as beautiful and majestic elephants are being actively killed, and their total elimination could have grave consequences on the overall ecological chain of nature.