I’m so happy about this. Big ol’ online auction giant eBay has announced as of January 2009, it will no longer permit ivory sales of any kind – including jewelry and heirlooms – on its site.
The New York Times reports:
The announcement, made to the company’s merchants and customers, came as a conservation organization based in Massachusetts prepared to issue the latest in a series of reports documenting how online auction sites, particularly eBay, have become a magnet for trading in items derived from endangered species, among them rare birds and reptiles sold to collectors, ivory-handled walking sticks or bracelets and figurines carved from elephant tusks.
The report, prepared by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, analyzed data gathered in a six-week survey that tracked more than 7,000 listings of wildlife or their feathers, teeth or pelts offered for sale on almost 200 web sites in 11 countries. Nearly three-quarters of the items were elephant products.
The majority of those trades and sales are done on eBay.
The poaching of elephants for their ivory tusks has greatly reduced the species’ numbers. Wildlife experts have documented a decline in elephant populations, particularly in Africa. The worldwide population of elephants stood at an estimated 1.3 million in 1979. But during the 1980s, 100,000 elephants were slaughtered each year for their ivory. By 1989, the number of elephants was 450,000.
The population has increased slightly since then, says the group, to about 470,000.
Let’s hope more auction houses follow eBay’s example and we can see those numbers grow. If humans were supposed to own ivory, mother nature would have given us tusks, too.