Danish auction house stops ivory sales

(File, iStock)
(File, iStock)

Copenhagen - Denmark's second largest auction house said on Monday it had stopped selling ivory products amid a social media storm over its planned sale of two tusks belonging to an African elephant.

The nearly two-metre tusks, weighing 28kg each, were to have gone under the hammer for a total of €20 107 on Wednesday.

"We try to be as aware as possible of what can cause offence," Kasper Nielsen, a sales director at Bruun Rasmussen, told AFP.

The move had been based on "the reactions we have received both" from the conservation group WWF "and our customers on social media," he said.

The decision also covered any tusks and horns belonging to the endangered species listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the company said.

The auction had been slammed by the WWF as immoral, and on the company's Facebook page one user had left a comments that said: "Supporting the poachers is horrific!" and: "I will never do business with this outfit again."

Rampant poaching of elephants in Africa has caused a major drop in their numbers over recent decades.

There are between 419 000 and 650 000 elephants left, according to conservation group Save the Elephants.

In a bid to show their determination to end the trade in ivory, Kenya's wildlife authority last week vowed to destroy its vast ivory stockpile from several thousand elephants, nine times more than the largest pile torched so far.

Ivory is sought out for jewellery and decorative objects and much of it is smuggled to China, where many increasingly wealthy shoppers are buying ivory trinkets as a sign of financial success.

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