burning ivory Carl De Souz/Getty Images

La razón detrás de la quema del marfil

JOHANESBURGO – Kenia está por destruir todas sus reservas de marfil de elefante. Más de 100 toneladas de "oro blanco" -tanto obtenido de manera ilegal (confiscado a cazadores furtivos o traficante) como acumulado naturalmente (por muerte natural)- se convertirán en humo este fin de semana. En China -donde se consume o se acopia la mayor parte del marfil del mundo- el precio que se dio a conocer recientemente es de 1.100 dólares el kilogramo, lo que lleva el valor total del material que se va a quemar a unos 110 millones de dólares.

Para la mayoría de los economistas, la idea de destruir un bien tan valioso es un anatema. Pero hay buenas razones para que un país -inclusive un país tan pobre como Kenia- se desprenda de su riqueza de marfil prendiéndola fuego.

Para empezar, la destrucción de las reservas fortalece la credibilidad de las campañas destinadas a reducir la demanda en el este de Asia, sin las cuales el problema de la caza furtiva nunca se solucionará. La reducción de la demanda apunta a modificar los gustos de los consumidores y así debilitar el mercado para el producto. De esta manera los precios caen, y con ellos el incentivo para que los cazadores furtivos sigan matando elefantes.

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