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WASHINGTON, DC—The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) praised Japanese internet retail giant Rakuten Ichiba for its decision to end all sales of elephant ivory. Rakuten’s comprehensive policy change to ensure elephants are protected from the trade in ivory became effective July 1st.
“EIA commends Rakuten for supporting African countries in protecting their elephants through its decision to end all ivory sales,” said EIA president Allan Thornton. “Rakuten’s decision is fantastic news for elephants and we are delighted it has chosen to undertake such an impactful policy change.”
Recent elephant census data shows there has been a 30 percent decline from 2007 to 2014 in savannah elephant populations in 18 African nations surveyed, while forest elephant numbers declined by 65 percent between 2002 and 2013. The current rate of decline is unsustainable and threatens the species’ long-term survival. Closing ivory markets eliminates loopholes for laundering illicit ivory and reduces the demand for ivory as part of the global effort to stop elephant poaching and ivory trafficking.
The United States has nearly ended its domestic ivory trade, and China and other nations have committed to closing down their domestic ivory markets. Internet retailers Google, Amazon.com, Alibaba, and eBay have also banned ivory sales on all their sites globally. Rakuten Ichiba banned whale and dolphin products from its site in 2014.
“By ending ivory trade on its Japanese site, Rakuten has demonstrated its commitment to progressive environmental policies and global conservation leadership,” said Amy Zets Croke, EIA Policy Analyst. “As Japan’s leading e-commerce retailer and an influential Japanese and international company, Rakuten’s strong stance in favor of elephants will have a tremendous impact on the market.”
Maggie Dewane, EIA Press Officer, [email protected], +1 202 483 6621