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Rising ivory prices could lead to more elephant poaching - study
Researchers fear that rising ivory prices could increase poaching incentives.

Analysis of ivory market values reveals major threat to elephant populations

The global price of ivory has increased tenfold since the 1989 CITES trade ban, according to new research, putting the lives of tens of thousands of elephants at risk.

Published in Biological Conservation, the study is the first to analyse trends in global ivory market values since the ban came into effect.

Researchers fear that rising ivory prices could increase poaching incentives, and therefore lead to a higher number of elephants being killed. The research was carried out by a team at the University of Bristol’s Veterinary School.

"With poachers killing an estimated 100 elephants of the remaining 350,000 each day, we believe our findings are significant to global wildlife conservation policy-making,” explained lead author Monique Sosnowski.

"Until now, very little has been known about global ivory prices since the international ban in 1989. We hope that a greater understanding of the factors that drive the price of ivory will lead to better informed policy interventions that lead to a more secure future for the long-term survival of elephants and other animals that suffer due to the ivory trade."

In the study, researchers analysed a large dataset of ivory prices collected between 1989 and 2017 from literature and trips to ivory markets. Together with information on the ivory product type, weight, region and legality, researchers were able to identify the factors that push up ivory prices.

They found that between 1989 and 2014, the global price of ivory increased tenfold and has been gradually decreasing since.

The variables that influenced activity were where in the world the ivory was sold, whether the ivory had been carved, whether the sale was legal, and the total of ivory estimated to have been traded that year.

Researchers hope that a greater understanding of price trends and associated demand, together with knowing what factors influence price, will help policymakers, law enforcement and conservationists better understand where to focus their efforts. 

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Pair of endangered Amur leopard cubs born at Colchester Zoo

News Story 1
 Keepers at Colchester Zoo are hailing the arrival of a pair of critically endangered Amur leopard cubs.

The cubs were born to first-time parents Esra and Crispin on the 9 September. This is the first time the Zoo has bred Amur leopard cubs on-site.

Amur leopards originate from the Russian Far East and north-east China. In the wild they are threatened by climate change, habitat loss, deforestation and the illegal wildlife trade.

The cubs are said to be “looking well” and are expected to emerge from their den in a few weeks.  

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RCVS names Professor John Innes as chair of Fellowship Board

Professor John Innes has been elected chair of the 2019 RCVS Fellowship Board, replacing Professor Nick Bacon who comes to the end of his three-year term.


Professor Innes will be responsible for making sure the Fellowship progresses towards fulfilling its strategic goals, determining its ongoing strategy and objectives, and reporting to the RCVS Advancement of the Professions Committee on developments within the Fellowship.