To trade or not to trade: relaxing the ban on the trade in endangered species

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 (African Ivory), and Biggs et al (African rhino horn). It 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 - 31 Mar 2015
EventSocio Legal Studies Association Annual Conference - University of Warwick
Duration: 31 Mar 20151 Apr 2015


ConferenceSocio Legal Studies Association Annual Conference
Internet address


  • Ivory
  • endangered species
  • wildlife crime


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