China loses track of 121 tons of ivory

– And we wonder why species are going extinct? Humans are surely a scourge on the Earth in so far as the other species who live here are concerned.

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UNITED NATIONS – China’s government lost track of 121 tons of elephant ivory over a dozen years that probably were sold on illegal markets, according to a previously undisclosed Chinese report to UN regulatory officials.

The “shortfall” in ivory described in the document between 1991 and 2002 – equal to the tusks from about 11,000 dead elephants – could provide fodder for representatives of a UN accord to reject China’s attempt next week to gain permission to import more ivory.

“We have not been able to account for the shortfall through the sale of legal ivory by the selected selling sites in the country,” Chinese officials reported in 2003 to the Swiss-based UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES. “This suggests a large amount of illegal sale of the ivory stockpile has taken place.”

AP obtained the Chinese report from the Environmental Investigation Agency, a watchdog group based in Washington and London. EIA also has compiled a briefing for nations that signed on to CITES to try to prevent China from gaining permission to trade ivory at a CITES meeting in Geneva, Switzerland next week.

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