Elephant poaching and the use of ivory in jewelery and other crafts have been banned globally for years now, starting in 1990. However, despite the world wide ban and the taboo of carrying ivory products, elephant killings are still continuing. In fact, the demand for ivory has been higher than in a decade, and the primary market are for religious crafts.
Illegal elephant killings in Africa are now higher than ever according to the article published in the most recent National Geographic issue entitled “Blood Ivory”. The illegal slaughter of elephants are hard to estimate, but scientists are projecting that these would account up to 25,000 elephant deaths a year to satisfy the demand of the global religious market.
The ivory is particularly sought after in Asian and some African countries, where they are carved into various religious artefacts: ivory baby Jesus statues and figurines of saints for the Christians in the Philippines, Islamic prayer beads and Coptic crosses for Muslims and Christians respectively in Egypt, amulets and decorative carvings for Buddhists in Thailand, and Buddhist and Taoist carvings in China. China is currently one of the largest consumers of ivory in the world, with investors paying top money to obtain elephant ivory religious paraphernalia.