Elephants In The Dust

San Francisco, USA, had a large number of outlets that imported illegal ivory from China, mixing it with mammoth ivory.

North America

with the CITES trade ban. It is still legal, however, to work and sell African elephant ivory that entered the United States prior to 1989 and currently there are about 200 carvers who use elephant ivory (Martin and Stiles 2008). Because of its large population and its economic power, even with greatly reduced scale the American ivory market is ranked second in the world, behind China. Ivory market surveys between 2004 and 2007 showed that there was a moderately high degree of illegal ivory imports into in the United States, partly fuelled by Internet sales (William- son 2004; Martin and Stiles 2008). An ETIS analysis revealed that there had been a large number of ivory seizures, but that they were small in size, indicating that organized crime was not involved (Milliken et al. 2012).

Along with Europe, the United States of America was one of the largest ivory markets in the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with factories processing hundreds of tonnes of ivory a year to make piano keys, billiard balls and other utilitarian items (Martin and Stiles 2008). In the 1950s, plastic began to replace ivory and cheaper Japanese ivory became more competitive than American ivory manufacturing. By the 1970s, little raw ivory was being imported and most worked pieces came from Hong Kong, although there were still about 1,400 ivory craftsmen in the United States in the mid 1980s (Cobb 1989). The ivory market collapsed in 1989 when the United States banned the import and export of ivory less than one hundred years old in conformance


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