The Illegal Ivory Trade Takes Flight
We all know the horrible carnage taking place in Africa with the slaughtering of Elephants for their ivory tusks, there is however an equal or greater threat facing another species possessing “red ivory.”
The helmeted hornbill of Southeast Asia has seen its numbers drastically reduced recently due to the increased demand of mainly wealthy Chinese looking to add status symbols to their collections. The beak or casque of the hornbill is very large and easier to carve than elephant ivory. It also fetches five times the amount on the black market. It is made up of keratin similar to the horns of rhinos.
All trade is illegal and the birds are protected under CITES I. This however hasn’t seemed to prove effective as the hunting continues. It has now pushed further legislation and protection efforts in order to slow and hopefully stop the killing altogether. Sadly purchasing a Rolex doesn’t seem to satiate the appetites of wealthy businessmen anymore looking for trophy to prove , we’ll never know.