We need your help to convince these auction houses that the future survival of elephants and rhinos is worth fighting for!
Did you know it is still currently legal for Australian auction houses to continue to profit from the commercial sale of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn products?
In 2016 IFAW released its report 'Under the Hammer', which published the results of a nine month investigation into the sale of elephant ivory and rhino horn at ‘bricks and mortar’ auction houses in Australia and New Zealand. Among other things, the report highlighted domestic markets in both countries worth thousands of dollars and very little domestic regulation to ensure the items were legal.
At the 17th meeting of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), 29 African range states called on Member countries to do all they could to close domestic ivory markets that were continuing to fuel the illegal poaching of elephants. Since that time markets have started to close, most notably in the USA, UK and China (the world’s largest market).
IFAW’s investigation and lobbying efforts helped lead to the convening of an Australian Government Parliamentary Inquiry into the domestic trade of elephant ivory and rhino horn, at which IFAW provided expert testimony. The Committee later recommended:
‘that the Commonwealth, states and territories, through the Council of Australian Governments, develop and implement a national domestic trade ban on elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn. The domestic trade ban should be consistent with those implemented in other like-minded international jurisdictions’.
While the import and export of elephant and rhinoceros parts and products to and from Australia is highly regulated, until legislation is enacted, auction houses, antiques dealers and the general public can continue to trade in these endangered species in an open domestic market.
It has come to our attention that two Australian auction houses, Artvisory and Aalders, have a number of elephant ivory and rhinoceros Lots that will be offered for sale at upcoming auctions scheduled for 15th August 2021. One of these Lots alone has an estimated value of AUD 200,000 – 300,000!
No one would mistake the sound of an auctioneer’s gavel for a poacher’s rifle shot, but the distance between the two is closer than most of us realise. The sad fact is that any trade in elephant ivory, rhinoceros horn, or any other endangered wildlife products fuels the demand, and increases the direct threat to remaining to wild animals from poachers. One elephant continues to be killed every 26 minutes, while rangers lives are placed in danger on a daily basis as they work around the clock to protect the wildlife in their care.
Any legal market for these products has the potential to send a green light to poachers that the demand for these items remains. It also provides loopholes for illegal trade to continue, further placing the conservation of these endangered animals at risk.
Please help us encourage these Australian auction houses to take a stand – to pull these items from their upcoming auction and follow the lead of other Australian auction houses such as Leonard Joel, which has taken a proactive step and implemented voluntary policies on trade.
If China – the world’s largest market for ivory can close its domestic market then surely auction houses in Australia can make a symbolic gesture ahead of a future domestic ban and help secure a future for the world’s elephants and rhinoceros.