Yahoo: stop ivory trafficking NOW!

EIA ivory trade report Yahoo is making itself an accomplice of poachers. (© EIA - Montage: Rettet den Regenwald-Fotos)
133,956 supporters

End of campaign: Apr 27, 2016

Yahoo’s Japanese online commerce platforms are a hub for ivory from dubious sources. The internet giant is thus making itself an accomplice to the poachers that are driving the world’s elephants to extinction. Tell Yahoo to get out of the ivory business.

Call to action

To: the CEO of Yahoo Inc., Marissa Mayer; the CEO of Yahoo Japan Corp, Manabu Miyasaka

By permitting trade in ivory, Yahoo is making itself an accomplice of elephant poachers. Tell Yahoo to ban the ivory trade from its online platforms NOW.

Read letter

According to a study by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), more than twelve tons of ivory were sold through Yahoo Japan between 2012 and 2014. During that period, 800 tusks and 15,787 smaller pieces changed hands. 55,000 personalized hanko name seals were also sold. “Hard ivory” from forest elephants is in great demand in Japan for name seals, decorative figurines, chopsticks and other items.

The trade is a profitable business for Yahoo: according to the EIA’s figures, sales of ivory products generated revenues of more than $27 million between 2005 and 2014.

The EIA study also confirms that Japan’s failure to implement an effective registration system has led to the large-scale laundering of illegal ivory. The country has thus become a hub for ivory trafficking from Africa to China, and Yahoo Japan is a key player in that market.

Animal rights activists are calling on the Japanese government to follow the lead of China and the United States in working toward a complete ban of the ivory trade.

Yahoo Japan defended its policy to the Associated Press by saying that while it permits the sale of legal items, it “patrols 24 hours a day” to catch illegal listings.

A Yahoo spokesperson told the Guardian that the US corporation only holds a 35.5% stake in Yahoo Japan and does not have any control over the subsidiary’s business activity – an implausible excuse.

Tell CEO Marissa Mayer to get out of the ivory trade on all of Yahoo’s platforms.

Back­ground

Japan's Illegal Ivory Trade and Fraudulent Registration of Ivory Tusks, a study by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), sharply criticized the Japanese government: Ivory trade on Yahoo’s Japan’s online platforms “provides a strong indication of the government’s ineffective monitoring and an inability or unwillingness to enact meaningful enforcement measures against illegal ivory trade”. Government monitoring is a travesty even at the lowest levels.

The easily-circumvented registration practices for raw ivory and tusks are a key issue. Registration is not required for tusks in private possession or smaller pieces of ivory.

According to the EIA, over 1,000 tusks of dubious origin have been laundered each year since 2011 “without a shred of real proof of legal acquisition or origin”. A simple statement by a third person – such as a family member – is deemed sufficient.

In an EIA undercover investigation in the summer of 2015, 80 percent of the contacted dealers were willing to buy unregistered tusks of unknown origin or register them fraudulently by providing false information. The dealers clearly had no fear of prosecution.

The investigation also revealed that international syndicates are using bidding agencies to purchase illegal ivory online in Japan and export it to China.

Letter

To: the CEO of Yahoo Inc., Marissa Mayer; the CEO of Yahoo Japan Corp, Manabu Miyasaka

Dear Ms. Mayer,
dear Mr. Miyasaka,

Yahoo Japan generates millions in revenue by permitting trade in ivory. According to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) study “Japan's Illegal Ivory Trade and Fraudulent Registration of Ivory Tusks”, more than twelve tons of ivory were sold through Yahoo Japan’s online platforms between 2012 and 2014.

By facilitating the ivory trade, Yahoo Japan is making itself complicit in elephant poaching. The dramatic increase in illegal hunting in recent years could lead to the extinction of the African elephant in the near future.

The EIA study concludes that Japan’s failure to implement an effective registration system has led to large-scale laundering of illegal ivory. Yahoo Japan’s assertion that it only allows legal trade therefore falls short. Furthermore, Yahoo Inc.’s claim that it has no influence over Yahoo Japan’s business policy in such an important issue is completely implausible.

Do not evade your responsibility in this matter – please ban the ivory trade on all online platforms immediately.


Kind regards,