By The Olive Press
Six Costa Blanca residents advertising illegal ivory online have been arrested following an undercover police sting. Guardia Civil agents contacted vendors of suspicious ivory products on an Alicante-based website that acted as a platform for second-hand valuable items. The vendors were duped into exchanging information with authorities before agents raised addresses in Alicante, Torrevieja, Almoradi, Onil, and Pilar de la Horadada.
The ivory found had no supporting invoices, documentation and licences, making their sale illegal. Impounded items included a €385 ivory crucix from Pilar de la Horadada and two hairbrushes in Torrevieja valued at €200 for the pair.
It follows a 2018 Oxford University study that found Spain had one of the worst records in the EU for sales of illegal ivory.
The university investigated 18 pieces of ivory purchased from online antiques portals and found them all to be illegal – other countries showed much better ratios of legal-illegal ivory. According to EU laws, ivory that is legal for re-sale must have been imported before 18 January 1990, and must have a licence. According to ICUN’s red list of endangered species, the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is listed as ‘vulnerable’ to extinction. A report says the ivory trade has doubled since 2007, largely due to sales to the Far East.