Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

The Raw and the Carved: Tusk throughput in an Ivory Industry

Brendan Moyle May 02, 2014

One of the important areas to understand in the illegal ivory business, is just how long it takes to turn raw-ivory into carvings.  The crucial point alluded to before is that the rise in smuggling is generated by raw-ivory seizures.  Critics of the 2008 CITES decision to allow China and Japan to import raw-ivory argue this is being manifested in … Read More


The difference between research in China and NZ

Brendan Moyle May 01, 2014

I think one of the challenges to doing research in China, is actually getting hold of the data.  And in this sense, I’m talking about data that actually already exists. This is how I’d do it in New Zealand. Log on to the relevant database. Put in search criteria. Download the data. Now there may be a registration fee or … Read More

Ivory Crimes: Supply or Demand Shock?

Brendan Moyle Apr 22, 2014

One of the unsettled issues with the surge in elephant poaching seen after 2008/9 is explaining why it took off. The scale represents a break from the past.  It seems inexplicable in terms of what we understood the drivers of poaching were.  These were basically either affluence in consumer markets (like Asia) or poor governance in African countries.  Neither … Read More


Urban Grit

Brendan Moyle Apr 16, 2014

I think one of the challenges to travel photography is finding ways to capture the feel of a place.  The reason this becomes a challenge is that often, the feel is not the same as the tourist postcards. Beijing for instance, is not blue skies an... Read More

The Ivory Crush: When wishful thinking meets bad economics

Brendan Moyle Mar 04, 2014

Elephant poaching exploded in the late 2000s.  This has led to a range of measures to stop this traffic. Some are quite sensible- increased international cooperation and coordination on enforcement has had successes.  Both Operation Cobra (2013) and Operation Cobra II (2014) shattered some conspiracies in Africa and Asia.  Some measure, well, seem to be applied in haste and … Read More

Ivory News: Some Snippets

Brendan Moyle Feb 12, 2014

Some snippets of news on the illegal trade in ivory from around the world. The USA has been contemplating a ban (or moratorium) on the domestic sale of ivory items.  This would mean even antiques and other pre-ban items could no longer be sold.  This now looks almost certain.  I’d expect an announcement soon. From the South China Morning … Read More