The Ivory Trade of Laos: Now the Fastest Growing in the World
Lucy Vigne & Esmond Martin
28 September 2017

Key findings from the report:

The majority of the ivory items seen for sale were machine-made from ivory mostly obtained via Vietnam and Thailand from recently poached African elephants.

Law enforcement is almost totally lacking, with large numbers of ivory items smuggled into Laos, for sale openly in new Chinese shops, sold mainly to Chinese customers.

Mainland Chinese buy over 80% of the ivory items in Laos today.
In late 2013 the average wholesale price of raw ivory sold by traders in Laos peaked at about USD 2,000/kg in line with prices elsewhere in the region.
By late 2016, the average wholesale price of raw ivory in Laos had declined to USD 714/kg, also in line with prices elsewhere in the region, largely due to the slowing of the Chinese economy.
The researchers found 81 retail outlets with ivory on view for retail sale, 40 of which were in the capital, Vientiane, 21 in Luang Prabang, 8 in Kings Romans, 5 in Oudom Xay, 3 in Pakse, 2 in Dansavanh Nam Ngum Resort and 2 in Luang Nam Tha.
13,248 ivory items were counted on display for sale, nearly all recently made to suit Chinese tastes.
The least expensive item was a thin ring for USD 3 and the most expensive was a pair of polished tusks for USD 25,000.
The two main areas in Vientiane and Luang Prabang with Chinese-owned shops selling ivory had increased more than ten-fold from three in 2013 to 35 in 2016.