Illegal ivory, including from recently poached elephants, is being sold widely throughout Europe, the global citizens movement Avaaz said on Tuesday, calling on the European Union to implement a complete ban on the ivory trade.
In a study, which was funded by small donations from over 50,000 Avaaz members worldwide, over 100 ivory items purchased in 10 EU countries were carbon tested at Oxford University to determine their age, which determines whether their sale was legal or not.
Almost 20 per cent of the samples were found to have come from elephants killed after 1989, when a global ivory trade ban went into effect.
Three-quarters of the items tested were also found to be from after 1947, a date after which ivory products can only be sold with government-issued certificates, which none of them had.
“This bombshell evidence proves beyond doubt that illegal ivory is being sold across Europe.
“It must spark the end of this bloody trade. Every day the sale of these trinkets continues is a day closer to wiping out majestic elephants forever,’’ Avaaz campaign director Bert Wander said.
European Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella was set to meet Avaaz representatives to discuss the study.
The European Commission has said it did not have enough evidence that current laws were ineffective in stopping illegal ivory trade in Europe.