Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I did say you'd be hearing more about this From NPR today:
When You're Almost Extinct, Your Price Goes Up

When a species gets rare, its market value rises. The higher its price, the more it's hunted. The more it's hunted, the rarer it gets. Not a happy cycle, and this keeps happening ...

The article links to an article in the latest National Geographic on Blood Ivory. Did you know that one of the main drivers of elephant poaching is now the demand for ivory for religious statues?

Although the world has found substitutes for every one of ivory’s practical uses—billiard balls, piano keys, brush handles—its religious use is frozen in amber, and its role as a political symbol persists.

Even the Vatican:

“Ivory, ivory, ivory,” says the saleswoman at the Savelli Gallery on St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. “You didn’t expect so much. I can see it in your face.” The Vatican has recently demonstrated a commitment to confronting transnational criminal problems, signing agreements on drug trafficking, terrorism, and organized crime. But it has not signed the CITES treaty and so is not subject to the ivory ban. If I buy an ivory crucifix, the saleswoman says, the shop will have it blessed by a Vatican priest and shipped to me.

The home of a Filipino collector is lavish with ivory religious icons. “I don’t see the elephant,” says another Filipino collector. “I see the Lord.”

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