The African elephant database contains four classifications of elephant populations: determined, probable, possible and speculative. The techniques used to determine the number of elephants in each category range from counting the actual number of elephants in a park (certainly) to using manure counts and mathematical formulas to estimate the number of elephants in a given area. Since many countries, especially those with forest elephants, have few or no „certain“ elephants, it is common to summarize all four categories when studying changes in elephant populations (Stiles 2004). This was done for this analysis. Because it compares changes over longer periods, it can avoid the problem of misinterpreting short-term changes influenced by the use of revised estimation techniques (Blanc et al., 2007). Data for 1979 and 1989 were presented in round figures, while data for 2007 were more precise (see annex 1), reflecting the increasing refinement of estimation techniques. Martin said ivory-colored seals and chopsticks have recently been introduced to Sudanese markets to meet Chinese demand. He said the customers come from the 3,000 to 5,000 Chinese who live and work in Sudan, mainly in the oil, mining and construction industries. But in Sudan`s sprawling markets selling ivory curiosities, traders complain that wildlife authorities are too diligent, if at all. They accuse officials of harassment by carrying out checks to see if they sell legal and antique ivory. They are careful when talking to a reporter.
Until the recent emergence of „green criminology“ (Beirne and South 2007; Oldfield, 2003; White, 2008), much of this activity has not been studied by criminologists. In fact, criminology has much to offer in studying and preventing wildlife crime. He has relevant knowledge of the effectiveness of legal sanctions, deterrence and prevention, and has extensive experience in developing and evaluating solutions to specific forms of crime. This paper, which examines the effectiveness of the CITES ban on international ivory trade, is designed in the context of situational crime prevention – an approach aimed at reducing the opportunities for certain forms of crime. Originally developed to combat „street crime“ such as car theft and vandalism (Clarke 1980), it has since been applied to a much wider range of crimes, including fraud (Levi 2008), child sexual abuse (Wortley and Smallbone 2006) and terrorism (Clarke and Newman 2006). More than 200 evaluations of situational crime prevention projects have been published, many of which show a sharp decline in some forms of crime treated with limited displacement (Guerette and Bowers in press). However, for smuggled ivory to be valuable, it must be washed – „cleaned“ and slipped into a legal system. This is not particularly difficult, as there is a lot of legal ivory in markets around the world. All a trafficker has to do is smuggle ivory through customs, and a 10% loss through customs seizures is clearly acceptable to most traffickers. (In fact, it`s cheaper than sales tax in many countries.) Once the ivory passes customs, it must enter a secret industrial process where it is inventoried, sorted, processed in factories, marketed, distributed, and then mixed with existing legal ivory that can be sold openly from Zhonghua Road in Shanghai to Fifth Avenue in New York. Father Ernest Sugule, who serves the village, tells me that many children in his diocese have seen family members killed by the Lord`s Resistance Army (LRA), the Ugandan rebel group led by Joseph Kony, one of Africa`s most wanted terrorists. Sugule is the founder of a group that helps victims of Kony`s army.
„I have met more than a thousand children who have been abducted,“ he says as we chat at his church in nearby Dungu. „When they are kidnapped, they are very young and are forced to do terrible things. Most of these children are very, very traumatized when they come home. They have nightmares,“ Sugule continues. They have flashbacks. Their own families are afraid that they are demons or eternal soldiers who could kill them at night. The girls are believed to have been raped, making it difficult for them to find a husband. The villagers sometimes mock the returned children with the same phrase used for the men of Kony: „LRA Tongo Tongo“. „LRA Cut Cut“ – an allusion, Sugule explains, to the vicious use of machetes by activists. The proposal has sparked a firestorm of criticism, with vehement protests from conservation and animal welfare advocates in Tanzania and abroad. Tanzanian government officials had admitted that the country loses at least 10,000 elephants each year to commercial poaching gangs.
How could Tanzania, a country that suffers more from elephant poaching than any other country in the world, a country that has exported more illegal ivory than any other country on earth, make a proposal that would certainly fuel more poaching and trade? In late December, after 10 weeks of furious unrest, the Tanzanian government tactfully withdrew its proposal. At the time of writing, my artificial defenses were sending their last message from a Sudanese town called Ed Daein, 500 miles southwest of Khartoum. I know what house they are in: with Google Earth, I see the light blue roof on my screen. They are in a place that is 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than room temperature, so maybe they were buried in the yard. So far, they have traveled 600 miles from jungle to desert in just under two months. Their path coincides with the route that Kony`s defectors tell me on the way to the warlord`s Kafia Kingi base. If you are reading this, my defences may have gone to Khartoum. Or maybe even appeared in the largest consumer of illegal ivory: China. Overall, previous attempts to assess the effectiveness of the CITES ban have yielded few definitive conclusions. Mostly on the basis of theoretical arguments, some have concluded that the ban has been successful.
Others said the ban was detrimental to countries that relied on ivory sales to fund elephant conservation; that he had little influence on a poacher`s decision to hunt; and that it has been possible to reduce ivory markets in some places, but not everywhere. In perhaps the most empirical study, Stiles (2004) concluded that the ban had positive effects on elephant populations in some parts of Africa, but not in others, and that it appeared to be related to access to domestic ivory markets.