Independent Voices, Indy Voices

Ke$ha accused of smuggling ivory

Stockpiles must be destroyed to prevent sales of ivory

Share
Related Topics

American popstar Ke$ha was accused by online tabloid Radar of smuggling a snuff box carved from illegal ivory into the USA this week. Radar obtained the information from government documents which apparently showed that Ke$ha tried to bring the contraband ivory into Los Angeles from Japan where she was on tour in August 2012.

The website condemned Ke$ha for ‘hypocrisy’ because she is also an ambassador for the Humane Society International, a global wildlife protection charity. Humane Society’s Vice President, Michelle Cho defended the singer, who it seems bought the $500 (£300) snuff box unwittingly. Cho said: “Ke$ha apparently bought a piece of jewelry at a thrift shop and was unaware it was ivory. It is not uncommon for even the most dedicated animal lover to mistakenly buy ivory when they think it’s another material.

Cho concluded: “Ke$ha, like other animal advocates, assures us she would never knowingly contribute to such a gruesome industry.” The fact that even high-profile advocates of conservation are buying ivory appears to show that consumers of ivory have an extraordinarily poor understanding of the plight of elephants. 

The illegal ivory trade is worth £6bn and claims the lives of 100 elephants every day. In 2008, Japan bought over 50 tons of legal ivory from Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The ivory was bought for approximately $157 (£95) per kilo and taken from government stockpiles of elephants, which died of natural causes.

Since the sale of this legal ivory, illegal poaching has increased dramatically to feed demand from the rising middle classes of East Asia. 2013 was the worst year for ivory seizures and a reported 23 tonnes of ivory were seized worldwide.

Critics have blamed these legal sales of ivory for fuelling demand in Asia and creating parallel legal markets, which are used as a subterfuge for selling illegal ivory.

Max Graham, CEO of Space for Giants, the beneficiaries of the Independent’s elephant campaign said: "Legal sales of stockpiles undermine our work against poaching in Africa and fuel a underground trade of which both elephants and humans become unnecessary casualties.”

Stockpiling ivory from elephants has drawn criticism from conservationists worldwide. Maintaining stockpiles in not only extremely expensive, but also signals the potential for legal sales in the future.

Keeping stockpiles also risks smuggling. Cases of smuggling have been recorded in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, where three tonnes of ivory were smuggled from government stockpiles through an air conditioning vent. 

Last week, China’s Guangdong province destroyed a six tonnes of stockpiled of ivory in an unprecedented gesture against illicit ivory trade. This amount was equivalent to one sixth of the illegal ivory seized in 2013.

The Chinese media has urged the government to destroy the 33 tonnes of illegal ivory stockpiled in Hong Kong. Though this is believed to be the largest existing stockpile in the world, China has never officially released data which shows how much ivory it has collected.

The Independent's elephant campaign will raise money for Space for Giants, a charity which help prevent elephant poaching and work with local communities in Kenya to stop the slaughter of elephants.

 

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Gold Ferrari sits outside Chanel on Sloane Street  

Sunday Times Rich List: We are no longer in thrall to very rich people

Terence Blacker
David Cameron was openly emotional at the prospect of Scotland leaving the union before the referendum  

Remember when David Cameron almost cried over Scotland because he loved it so much?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions