Report originally available at:


The Vigne and Martin report from 2017 shows Laos’ ivory market has expanded more rapidly than any other country surveyed between 2013-2016. With many countries making efforts to stifle illegal ivory trade, Laos has failed to conform with CITES standards which regulate the selling and buying of products made from endangered species. Most of the ivory for sale in Laos can be traced back to African elephants, and the products are typically processed in Vietnam by Vietnamese smugglers or in Laos by Chinese traders. The pieces—mostly jewelry-- tend to be designed for Chinese buyers, who account for nearly 80% of ivory sales in Laos. A lack of police enforcement across outlets had led vendors to believe they can continue making a profit by selling ivory to Chinese mainlanders. In the absence of action to curb this demand and limit the availability of ivory products, African elephant populations will continue to decline beyond sustainable levels.