Craigslist: Stop Facilitating the Sale of Illegal Ivory


Target: Jim Buckmaster, CEO of Craigslist

Goal: Implement a system to scan and remove ads for ivory products on Craigslist.

The market for ivory products is thriving on Craigslist, according to a study by the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Over 450 ivory products with a value of nearly $1.5 million were found listed on the trading site, along with hundreds of other animal products, including zebra hides and a footstool made from an elephant leg. Despite the sale of ivory and endangered animal products being banned from the site, Craigslist is not taking down the ads.

While pre-ban antique ivory is legal for sale in the United States, only three percent of the ads found had proper documentation to prove that the product being sold was made before the ban. While others claimed to be pre-ban, a separate study found that carvers commonly use techniques to make the ivory look aged in order to illegally sell new ivory as antique. This loophole, which exists in many countries, has caused the ivory industry to rebound and become stronger than it was even before the worldwide ivory ban brought about by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Each day, an estimated 96 elephants are killed in Africa by poachers. These poachers are using increasingly cruel tactics, including poisoning watering holes and gunning down entire herds with automatic weapons. In the past decade, Central Africa has lost 64 percent of its elephants.

Other websites such as eBay and Etsy have successfully implemented algorithms to find and remove ads for illegal animal products. Craigslist’s lack of screening is facilitating the sale of illegal animal products and contributing to the slaughter of elephants in Africa. Sign the petition below to demand that Craigslist improve its capabilities to find and take down ads for ivory and endangered animal products.


Dear Mr. Jim Buckmaster,

A recent study by animal welfare advocacy groups has found a thriving market for the sale of ivory on Craigslist despite the material being prohibited on the website. While many of these pieces are claimed to be antique, a separate study found that ivory carvers frequently employ tactics to make post-ban ivory look older in order to sell it more easily.

Several major sales websites have created programs to track and shut down ads for illegal animal products. By failing to do so, Craigslist is contributing to the success of a market that is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of elephants annually. We, the undersigned, demand that Craigslist make an effort to stop the trade of prohibited animal products on its website.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Mohan Raj

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  1. Ruth Rogers Ruth Rogers says:


  2. Don Nigro says:

    It is appalling how little human rights matter to radical animal rights activists. Never mind that ivories have been fashioned and used, and actively reused, collected and traded around the world for centuries before ANY ivory bans went into effect. Never mind that the USFWS itself formerly stated that the American market did not contribute significantly to the modern plight of elephants and rhinos. On the pretense that among the millions of vintage or antique pieces constituting America’s old stock of ivories, an illegally implanted, recently poached “blood ivory” piece might be found; doesn’t justify pulling the rug from under legitimate collectors, dealers and heirs. Shameful overreach. Shameful!
    Moreover if any masterful vintage or quality ivory antique or antiquity is destroyed during this ivory ban hysteria; then a true crime against humanity will have been committed.
    Obama with his ill-conceived Executive Order on ivory is inviting History to compare him to the likes of the Conquisitors, Mao’s Red Guard, Hitler, Isis and the Taliban, each with their overt destruction of alleged “decadent” and/or “offensive” art. The destruction of fine vintage art, antiques or antiquities – even if made of ivory- should never be part of political gamesmanship or grandstanding! Instead get serious; stop all fresh blood ivory and rhino horn at our borders! Confront and stop the overseas African and Chinese culprits behind the poaching! Catch and prosecute the very few in America who are knowingly importing fresh kill for their boutiques and open market stalls… and stop hassling decent Americans who are not part of the problem.

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