The illegal trade of ivory in Egypt must be controlled. Traders sell ivory products openly in the local tourist market. Although the volumes of Elephant ivory which was rampant has been brought into control over the past decade. At present, the country is reeling under major ivory trade. The Egyptian tourist market is now full of ivory craftsman and vendors who are operating with no fear of arrest.
In the year 1990, trade in ivory was prohibited. According to an Egyptian ministerial verdict which was issued in 1999, it is illegal to import, export or possess ivory products or even offer them for sale. There has to be a permit for the purpose of selling ivory products but the permit has never.
There were times when customs officers have at some times seized elephant tusks at Cairo airport. The traffic researches are doing their part in trying to solve the menace of ivory smuggling. Recently two traffic researches tallied more than 8,000 ivory items openly for sale. The places where they were put for sale are: Cairo’s bazaars, hotel souvenir shops and other tourist outlets. Illegal ivory items were concealed in drawers, at the back of the shops and also in people’s homes.
Widespread selling of ivory products such as animal and human figurines, jewelry and carved scarab beetles are common in Cairo. Other items made with ivory are: walking sticks made with ivory, chopsticks and hieroglyphic name seals known as cartouches.
Furthermore, studies conducted in the year 1998 and 2005 found that the biggest buyers of ivory in Egypt were Europeans. Italians and Spanish tourists are also the buyers of ivory in large numbers. Another kind of consumer with mounting spending power and a strong taste for carved elephant tusks has emerged lately. They are the Chinese who in the year 2005 were hardly buying any ivory. At present, the Chinese account for half of the sales.