Ivory Trading in Europe

Stephen Wiggins Article 3 Comments

The European Commission has an on-line survey on ivory trading within the European Union (EU) – the survey runs until 8 December 2017.

To highlight the issues with ivory trading and ivory transiting through Europe, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) issued a report “Ivory Seizures in Europe, 2006 – 2015,” September 2017 showing how widespread the illicit behaviour is:

This IFAW research indicates that the EU plays a significant role in the global ivory trade. Between 2011 and 2014, member states detailed seizures of around 4,500 ivory items reported as specimens and an additional 780 kilograms as classified by weight. EU countries are key transit points for illegal ivory, either exported to other countries or kept within Europe, under the guise of ivory items acquired legally or as reported antiques, with some items being stained to appear as antiques.”

Ivory Seizures in EU

Ivory Seizures in Europe, 2006 – 2015,” IFAW September 2017

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) recently reported:

nearly 200 seizures of more than 11 tonnes of ivory in 14 European countries since 2000. These seizures represent ivory sourced from approximately 1,800 elephants” but added “In all likelihood, this reflects a fraction of the actual illegal ivory trade connected with Europe during the past 17 years….

The EU’s on-line ivory trading survey  asks some very specific question on how the EU’s illicit ivory trading compares with international ivory trafficking – questions that have virtually unknowable answers, as no one knows the undetected illicit behaviour,  or the full extent of so-called ‘legal’ ivory trading that acts as a mask for laundered illicit ivory.

Optional guides to completing the EU’s  on-line ivory trading survey are available from IWB (EU Consultation Guide) and/or the Born Free Foundation.

Further Reading

The Time Has Come for an EU-Wide Domestic Ivory Ban,” National Geographic, 7 December 2017



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