Google ivory ads encourage people to kill elephants, activists say



Diptendu Dutta

African elephants are being killed at record levels--and Google is making the problem worse, a conservation group alleges.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) says there are 10,000 ads on Google Japan's shopping site that promote the sale of elephant ivory products. Demand for the ivory has lead to the deaths of thousands of elephants every year, and many countries are struggling to fix this problem. In fact, Google itself even has a policy against advertising for elephant ivory, also known as "blood ivory." But Google has been violating that policy, the EIA charged in a press release.

“Google has laudable policies that prohibit the promotion of endangered wildlife products including whale, dolphin and elephant ivory, but sadly these are not being enforced and that’s devastating for whales and elephants,” said EIA President Allan Thornton in a public statement.

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“While elephants are being mass slaughtered across Africa to produce ivory trinkets, it is shocking to discover that Google, with the massive resources it has at its disposal, is failing to enforce its own policies designed to help protect endangered elephants and whales.”

When contacted about the accusations  by the Associated Press, Google responded: "Ads for products obtained from endangered or threatened species are not allowed on Google. As soon as we detect ads that violate our advertising policies, we remove them."

Yet EIA says that they wrote to Google on February 22 and still haven't received a response, BBC News reported. The sale of elephant tusks was banned in 1989, but elephant welfare groups say that elephants continue to be poached. Around 30,000 elephants are killed each year in Africa to meet the intense demand for ivory trinkets in Asian countries.