burning ivory Carl De Souz/Getty Images

Le bien-fondé de l’incinération de l’ivoire

JOHANNESBURG – Le Kenya est sur le point de détruire l’entièreté de ses réserves d’ivoire d’éléphant. Plus de 100 tonnes métriques d’« or blanc » — la récolte illégale (confisquée des braconniers ou des trafiquants) et d’origine naturelle (résultant de la mortalité naturelle) — partiront en fumée ce week-end. En Chine — où la grande partie de l’ivoire mondial est achetée ou stockée —, la dernière transaction a été enregistrée au prix de 1 100 $ le kilogramme, plaçant la valeur totale de ce précieux matériau à incinérer à environ 110 millions $.

Pour la plupart des économistes, l’idée de détruire un bien de si grande valeur fait figure d’hérésie. Mais il y a de bonnes raisons pour qu’un pays — même aussi pauvre que le Kenya — livre aux flammes son capital d’ivoire.

La première étant que la destruction des réserves renforce la crédibilité des campagnes de réduction de la demande en Asie de l’Est, sans lesquelles le problème de braconnage ne pourra jamais se régler. La réduction de la demande vise à asphyxier le marché en faisant en sorte que l’ivoire ne soit plus un bien convoité par les acheteurs. L’idée étant que la baisse du prix réduit l’intérêt pour les braconniers de tuer des éléphants.

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