The environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) have accused multinational corporation, Google of exhibiting over 10,000 ads on ivory on their Japanese shopping sites. Google have however, denied the claims (made at the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species earlier this month), despite the EIA writing to Google, asking for the removal of all ivory related advertisement. 80% of these ads are for a stamping company called ‘Hanko’, that produces the stamps with inlaid ivory lettering. The EIA believe this to be: ‘a major demand driver for elephant ivory.’ Along with this recent discovery, the EIA had been monitoring advertising in Japan and revealed over 1400 ads on whale products. From this, the EIA have accused Google of contributing to elephant poaching in Africa. Google have yet to reply to the concerns initially raised last month but have however issued a statement:
‘Ads for products obtained from endangered or threatened species are not allowed on Google. As soon as we detect ads that violate our advertising policies, we remove them.’
With no further response or removal of ads, it is unknown as to what Google will do to end the claims being made against them. Allan Thornton, US based President for the EIA has said:
‘It is shocking to discover that Google, with the massive resources it has at its disposal, is failing to enforce its own policies designed to help protect endangered elephants.’
Ivory tusks give elephants their majestic image. It is, however, proving no match for the avarice of huntsmen. According to a study released at the Cites summit in Bangkok, two thirds of forest elephants being killed by ivory poachers in the past decade, leaving only 100,000 left compared to the 400,000 Savannah elephants that remain. One of the research scientists from the study, Samantha Strindberg, reveals the severity of this statistic:
‘The analysis confirms what conservationists have feared: the rapid trend towards extinction – potentially within the next decade – of the forest elephant.’
The location of their habitat is also a cause for concern, with parts of central Africa being abandoned and left lawless by war, poachers have the rightful access to weaponry. Ivory tusks have been hunted and utilised to make various products from piano keys to billiard balls, stealing from the creatures, their source of defence against predators and their source of finding water. But does this only affect elephants? Head of Gabon’s National Park service, Prof Lee White thinks otherwise:
‘A rain-forest without elephants is a barren place. They bring it to life, they create trails and keep open the forest clearings other animals use.
Organisations such as ‘Traffic’ have helped raise public awareness on ivory hunting. A conservation charity of over 35 years dedicated to preventing threats over the conservation of nature. However high demand in the developed countries (particularly Japan and China) renders this tragic issue ongoing. With an estimated nine out of ten elephants dying in Asian countries, the concerns over ivory are becoming serious threats to a threatened species.