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Online ivory in Japan threatens African elephants -activists

LONDON (Reuters) - Online selling and weak controls on domestic ivory sales in Japan are spurring illegal international trade in elephant tusks and contributing to a steep rise in poaching, activists said on Tuesday. A lack of rules regulating the registration of raw ivory and the licensing of importers, wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers has allowed illicit stocks into Japan's domestic market, according to the report by the independent London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

Footage of ivory smuggling tips in stores angers activists

Activists called Thursday for an outright ban on ivory trading in Hong Kong after TV footage emerged showing assistants in local stores giving advice on how to smuggle the material overseas. The footage secretly filmed by Britain's ITN showed salesmen advising undercover reporters posing as customers how to take ivory artifacts past customs. Ivory is "easy to take out, even if you go through the metal (detector) there's no sign," a salesman was shown as saying in some of the footage uploaded by the South China Morning Post newspaper.

Prince William slams 'despicable' poaching before talks

Britain's Prince William called Wednesday for the "despicable" illegal trade in elephants, rhinos and tigers to be stamped out, ahead of an international conference to clamp down on poaching. Representatives from 50 states have gathered in London for the talks, aimed at improving law enforcement in the -- mainly African -- countries where poaching is rife and stemming growing demand in Asia. The London Summit on Illegal Wildlife Trade is being hosted by the British government and Princes Charles and William, who called it a turning point in the fight against trafficking.

Hong Kong to destroy almost 30 tonnes of ivory

Hong Kong said Thursday it would incinerate almost 30 tonnes of ivory seized from smugglers, in the world's largest such operation, following intense pressure from conservation groups. A government committee on endangered species agreed unanimously on the move to discourage the illegal trade, its chairman Paul Shin told reporters. Authorities will incinerate about 28 tonnes of the government's total 29.6 tonne stockpile.

Hong Kong mulls following China to destroy ivory stockpile

Hong Kong's government is considering destroying its stockpile of over 30 tonnes of ivory obtained through seizures of elephant tusks, it said Wednesday. The Chinese government crushed a pile of ivory weighing more than six tonnes on Monday, its first public destruction of ivory, to discourage illegal trade. "The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department is aware of the steps taken in other places to destroy forfeited ivory," the Hong Kong government department said in a statement sent to AFP Wednesday.

China crushes six tonnes of ivory: state media

China shredded a pile of ivory reportedly weighing over six tonnes on Monday, in a landmark event aimed at shedding its image as a global hub for the illegal trade in African elephant tusks. In what was described as the first ever public destruction of ivory in China, masked workers fed tusks from a pile surrounded by ivory carvings into crushing machines in the southern city of Dongguan. The event was "the country's latest effort to discourage illegal ivory trade, protect wildlife and raise public awareness", the official news agency Xinhua said.

Connect the dots: infant mortality, graft and elephant poaching

By Ed Stoddard JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - What do infant mortality and elephant poaching have in common? Plenty, according to conservation groups. Researchers have for the first time made clear connections between elephant poaching in Africa, which has been surging to meet soaring ivory demand in Asia, and factors such as poverty, as shown by high rates of child deaths, and corruption. These links have always been suspected but never pinned down with hard data.

African and Asian states vow to crack down on illegal ivory trade

African and Asian nations on Tuesday agreed on urgent measures to tackle the illegal ivory trade, from the slaughter of elephants to the trafficking of their valuable tusks to the Far East. The deal comes after top officials and experts from 30 states met in Botswana this week to tackle an upsurge in elephant poaching as demand for ivory soars from countries such as China and Thailand.

African summit announces urgent measures to protect elephants

African summit announces urgent measures to protect elephants GABORONE, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Delegates at the first ever African Elephant Summit announced on Tuesday urgent measures in a bid to reverse the trend in illegal killing of the mammal and the illegal ivory trade.

African and Asian states agree to tackle illegal ivory trade

African and Asian states, including China and Thailand, reached a deal in Botswana on Tuesday to crack down on the illegal ivory trade. States that are home to the animals and destination countries for ivory agreed to "urgent measures to halt the illegal trade and secure elephant populations across Africa," the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Botswanan government said in a statement. Six countries signed the pact but all 30 states attending the summit agreed on the measures and committed to inking the deal.
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