Illegal ivory mostly from recent elephant killings

A Hong Kong court has convicted two people of illegally possessing ivory chopsticks after radiocarbon dating proved the items were produced after and therefore unlawful, the government said Wednesday. Domestic trade in ivory imported legally into Hong Kong before that year is not against the law if the seller has a government licence. But the pair were convicted and fined after the dating process established the ivory was obtained after While environmental groups welcomed the use of forensic evidence, they condemned the light penalty. Hong Kong, a key hub for the ivory trade and manufacturing, announced plans last year to phase out sales completely by But the government of neighbouring mainland China will ban all ivory trade and processing by the end of this year, a move hailed by conservationists. Conservationists estimate that more than 20, elephants were killed for their ivory in , with similar tolls in previous years. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species banned the international ivory trade in

Carbon Test Determines Whether A Piece Of Ivory Is Legal Or Illegal

Illegal ivory has been found on sale in 10 European countries, contravening international efforts to cut down on the trade which campaigners say encourages the poaching of elephants. The campaigning group Avaaz bought items of ivory and had them tested using radiocarbon dating. Nearly one-fifth of the objects were found to contain ivory from animals killed since , which is illegal, after restrictions on the global ivory trade were put in place in

Illegal elephant ivory tusk vendor convicted with radiocarbon study last year found poachers killed an estimated , elephants across Africa.

Members of the unit are always happy to give advice on samples for radiocarbon dating. We have over thirty years of experience in the scientific aspects of the subject and have a staff who is able to deal with specifically archaeological or environmental questions. See the list of Staff for contact details. Radiocarbon dating is a powerful technique but selection of the best samples for dating is essential to successful application. In all cases it is necessary to think about the relationship between the sample and the events of interest.

Despite its strengths, the resolution of radicoarbon dating is limited and so it is well worth checking the resolution of the method at different time periods by simulations using OxCal. The choice of material for dating is an important part of any project and has a bearing on what kinds of statistical analysis will be possible at the end. It is always a good idea to discuss this with the laboratory if you are unsure.

Single entities samples which originate from a single organism are often the best type of sample for dating and in these cases identification to species or genus level is very useful. We can suggest people who may be able to help with this type of analysis. Sample size is another constraint in selection of samples for dating. The following table shows some common material types and the typical ideal, and minimum sample sizes for analysis. In most cases it is possible to date even smaller samples but with considerably reduced precision and reliability.

What carbon dating tells us about elephant poaching. (It’s not good.)

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The tool’s creators hope it will help officials prosecute those who harvest and sell ivory illegally. “Our dating method is affordable for.

University of Utah researchers developed a new weapon to fight poachers who kill elephants, hippos, rhinos and other wildlife. By measuring radioactive carbon deposited in tusks and teeth by open-air nuclear bomb tests, the method reveals the year an animal died, and thus whether the ivory was taken illegally. It was published online the week of July 1 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Not only can the method help wildlife forensics to combat poaching, but “we’ve shown that you can use the signature in animal tissues left over from nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere to study modern ecology and help us learn about fossil animals and how they lived,” says Cerling, a distinguished professor of geology and geophysics, and biology at the University of Utah.

The method uses the “bomb curve,” which is a graph — shaped roughly like an inverted “V” — showing changes in carbon levels in the atmosphere — and thus absorbed by plants and animals in the food chain. The carbon was formed in the atmosphere by U. Those levels peaked in the s and have declined ever since but still are absorbed by and measurable in plant and animal tissues. International agreements banned most trade of raw ivory from Asian elephants after and African elephants after In the United States, raw and worked African ivory jewelry, figurines, gun and knife handles is legal if it was imported before or, if worked ivory is imported after, it must be at least years old.

Yet tons of illegal ivory still are sold because dealers claim the ivory was taken before the ban and there has been no test to prove them wrong — until now. Only , African elephants are left. Conservation groups say 70 percent of smuggled ivory goes to China. The United States is the next biggest illegal market.

New Forensic Dating Tool Combats “Blood Ivory”

There are many misunderstandings about the use of ivory in antiques and we believe that the information given below will help provide more clarity. The poaching of elephants in the wild and the threat that this causes to the survival of the species is a very serious matter. We should make it absolutely clear that BADA members deplore the illicit market in ivory and are fully supportive of targeted and proportionate measures aimed at eradicating it.

It is not quite as simple as this, because most of the objects found in the UK today made from or incorporating elements of ivory were created many years ago and are part of our shared cultural heritage.

Elephant poaching is alive and well. Scientists examining seized shipments of ivory from Africa have found that 90% came from elephants that.

The age determination of elephant ivory provides necessary and crucial information for all criminal prosecution authorities enforcing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The knowledge of the age of ivory allows to distinguish between pre-convention, hence legal material and ivory deriving from recent, illegal poaching incidents. The commonly applied method to determine the age of ivory is radiocarbon dating in the form of bomb pulse dating, which however will fade out soon.

This work provides an enhancement of the radiocarbon dating method by supplementary determination of the isotope profile of Sr and the two thorium isotopes Th and Th. This combined analysis allows for a precise and unambiguous age determination of ivory. We provided calibration curves for all involved radionuclides by analyzing ivory samples with known age and investigated a new method for the extraction of strontium from ivory.

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Study: Radiocarbon dating finds illegal ivory in EU markets

A scientific study of ivory traded by dealers across Europe proves that the sales are illegal, according to the activist groups that released the study Tuesday. Avaaz , working with the Elephant Action League , purchased pieces of ivory in 10 countries across Europe in an attempt to demonstrate to European officials that there is, in fact, scientific evidence to prove that some ivory sold by antique shops, private owners and online is on the market illegally.

Pieces dated in between require a certificate. Yet that was not true of the pieces they bought, even though they were marketed as legally antique or no date was listed. In Bulgaria, Spain, and Italy, all the pieces tested were illegal, and in France, the Netherlands, and Portugal, the large majority were illegal, according to their dating. One in five pieces of ivory tested are from elephants that were alive in the s and s, and killed after the global trade in new elephant ivory was outlawed.

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Japan will tighten controls on its internationally maligned ivory market in July, requiring dealers to prove via carbon dating that specimens were legally obtained, the Environment Ministry said Friday. In , international ivory trading was banned in principle under the Washington Convention, officially known as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. However, ivory that remains in its original form and that was obtained prior to the convention taking effect is permitted to be traded in Japan after it is registered with the Japan Wildlife Research Center.

Individuals who wish to trade ivory in the country will now have to report how it was acquired, while providing third-party testimony on its provenance. Carbon dating to show the age of ivory will become an absolute prerequisite from July 1, making ivory obtained from recent poaching impossible to register and sell, the ministry said. While the United States, China and other countries have taken steps to close markets, Japan has previously argued its domestic trading has no impact on poaching.

The conservation group said more than 2. National Japan to make carbon dating of ivory mandatory for trade, tightening controls on oft-criticized market. Sorry, but your browser needs Javascript to use this site.

Poaching is on the rise — most illegal ivory comes from recently killed elephants

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Abstract: Radiocarbon dating of ivory requires destructive sampling on a scale not always compatible with the requirements of the preservation and curation of.

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