Two miniature sculptures sold on eBay in December 2020: a tiny egg with a chick hatching through the shell, and an intricately carved man in traditional Japanese dress with a rat perched on his shoulder. The egg sold for $195 and the figure for $1,345. But there’s a problem. Both objects are made from a yellowish-white material that has crisscrossing patterns characteristic of elephant ivory — a banned item on eBay. “Yes, both are elephant ivory,” David Roberts, a wildlife trade expert and academic at Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) in Kent, U.K., told Mongabay in an email after reviewing the listings. Roberts and his former student, Sofia Venturini, also of DICE, recently published a paper about the ongoing illegal trade of elephant ivory on eBay, despite the online trading platform having a strict policy in place that prohibits the buying and selling of ivory, in line with current CITES regulations. The study looked specifically at the sale of netsuke, tiny sculptures used in 17th century Japan to weigh down the cord of a kimono robe. While modern netsuke is typically made from synthetic materials, traditional ones are made from elephant ivory — and there is still a small, but profitable, market for these objects. Ivory netsuke from Japan, 1871-1900. Image by Wellcome Collection gallery / Wikimedia Commons. The researchers analyzed 3,214 items for sale on eBay in 2018, and found that between 2.2% and 4.5% of them were elephant ivory, despite many of the objects frequently being incorrectly…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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