Legalised, limited ivory trading: could it save the elephant from extinction?

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaper


The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has controlled and limited the trade in endangered species since 1973. In the UK, the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act 1976 (as amended) gives effect to CITES, and lists in Schedules 1-3 the species for which import and export are prohibited without a licence. Poaching of endangered species continues to rise however driven, along with all acquisitive crimes, by the huge potential profits. In 2012, the Environmental Investigation Agency gave evidence of ivory on sale in China at over US$6,500/kg – a 2200% increase of the amount paid to poachers. In 2011, Kenyan President Kibaki “set ablaze five tonnes of ivory” with a conservative potential resale value of US$30m – 63 per cent of the Kenyan Wildlife Service’s 2013 income. In 2013/4, the National Geographic reported that in excess of 50 tonnes of ivory, with a potential value of US$300m, had been earmarked for destruction. This paper builds on the work of Martin et al, and Milliken and assesses the extent to which a relaxation in the 1976 Act, and appropriate redistribution of the resulting income, could benefit conservation, or whether such an approach would effectively guarantee a market, thus encouraging a large increase in poaching.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2015
EventSociety of Legal Scholars Annual Conference - University of York
Duration: 2 Sept 2015 → …


ConferenceSociety of Legal Scholars Annual Conference
Period2/09/15 → …


  • Ivory
  • endangered species
  • wildlife crime


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