International Yahoo based in California has banned the sale of ivory on its U.S. website. Yahoo Japan, Japan’s biggest online auction site, refuses to do so.
Yahoo Japan says it does not prohibit ivory sales because it is possible that the ivory being sold is legal. Legal ivory includes tusks that came from elephants killed before 1989 and from tusks sold to the Chinese and Japanese governments in the 90s for resale to the public.
Of course, chances are that most of the ivory being sold through Yahoo Japan is illegal ivory with no paperwork or improper paperwork. It is precisely this kind of illegal sale that drives poaching.
Ivory sales on Yahoo Japan have skyrocketed in recent years, with 28,000 pieces sold in 2015, including 438 whole tusks, which is seventeen times more than was sold in 2005, according to a report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
Rakuten, Yahoo Japan’s biggest rival and an FC Barcelona sponsor, also allows ivory sales on its sites, although they disallow the sale of whole tusks.
Yahoo International in California says it cannot force Yahoo Japan to change its policies; however, this may not be true. Yahoo International owns 35.6% of Yahoo Japan; in Japan, 33% shareholders have the right to veto board decisions. It seems Yahoo International in California could do more (Shida).
Elephant tusks are actual teeth with nerves in them. When the elephant dies, the nerves die and shrink. Thus, tusks from a dead elephant are hollow. Chinese ivory carvers prefer the males' bigger, heavier tusks so they have more ivory to work with.