编者注：前几日耶鲁大学环境科学硕士的高煜芳童鞋此次带着两名肯尼亚从事大象保护的青年人Resson Kantai和Christopher Kiarie到中国，希望能够与更多中国的公众分享他们所做的研究与工作，介绍非洲象的生存状况和在肯尼亚进行的象群保护工作，让更多的中国人了解遥远的非洲土地上的象群的命运是如何与中国发生关联，应该如何正确地认识复杂象牙贸易背后的问题。他希望能够通过此次的交流行动让更多公众开始关注大象保护议题，也为中国和肯尼亚的环保圈子搭建一座桥梁。
文 /Resson Kantai Duff
这一天，我等了很久了。我终于可以看到那些我认识的大象们在经历可怕死亡后的最终去向：象牙交易市场。我们从一家坐落在繁忙高速公路旁的并不显眼的古董店开始逛起。我看到了一个花样繁复的老牙雕，根据横截面上独特的纹样，我立刻认出，这象牙来自一头长毛象。接着，我们来到一家象牙商店。女店员一开始还有所保留。小高跟她聊天，奉承她，就像眼镜蛇随着印度管乐器的音乐舞动一样，她开始滔滔不绝地把说起自己的家事。她说侄子不久就要上大学了，这孩子不考虑家境，选了不太能赚钱的专业，她真希望他能做更好的选择。其实他本可以去技校学习雕刻，不久之后就能过上好日子。在她看来，象牙雕刻这一行是有前途的。她安排我们就坐，向我们展示了我见过的最美最精致的雕刻艺术品。“小心点儿！” 她说，“这很贵。” 她说这话时，我正捧着一件价值6000美元的牙雕。这家商店是合法经营，所有工艺品都有认证证书。但是，她承认也有些时候，有人会冒险从“其他途径”获取象牙。我离开商店，混合着矛盾的情绪：多么叹为观止的艺术品，可它们背后的代价却那么高昂。
然后我看到琥珀。这是我最喜欢的石头，这种透明的有机物，总会包裹着某种完好保存的东西，对我而言，它是通往过去的一扇窗户，也许里面是千百万年前的世界。这是每克售价最贵的一种石头，按克计价，有时候卖到超过40美元／克。我们还看了许多其他的石头，包括象牙，相比而言，象牙的价钱在众多石头中算低的。我过了好一阵才反应过来，这就是所谓的“象牙市场” (ivory market)，我觉得现在应该停止用这个名字统称它们了。这不是我们想象中的”象牙市场”，这只是有“象牙的市场”(market with ivory)。
英文原文：【Elephant Conservation Tour in China – June 10 – Guangzhou】From Resson Kantai Duff
The White Stone
This was the day I had been waiting for, the day I would finally see where all the elephants I knew had gone after they had met their horrible death: the visit to the ivory market. We started off going into obscure antique shops on the side of a busy highway. The first was intricately carved mammoth ivory. I recognized immediately that it was indeed mammoth by the distinct patterns on the cross section. Then we headed into an elephant ivory shop. The lady employed in the shop was reserved at first, but Gao charmed her, and like a snake dancing to Indian pipe music, she began to tell us about her frustrations. Her nephew was starting university soon, and instead of thinking about his poor background wisely, he picked a course that would never make him much money. She wished he had chosen better. He could even go to the carving school, and soon live a dream. This industry has a future. She kindly offered us seats, and showed us the most beautiful, meticulously carved art I have ever seen. “Be careful,” she said, “it is very expensive” she said to me as I held a $6000 piece. All the work in the shop had certificates attached; this shop is legal. But she did admit that sometimes, someone took the daunting risk of getting ivory from “other sources”. I left the shop with confused feelings fighting within me: such beautiful art, but such a great cost.
Then we wondered into an open plan shopping mall, to kill time I thought. Here we saw some of the most beautiful gems and precious stones. We started off looking at orange coral, then ambled into a section with jade. It all looked like glass bangles to me, brittle and pretty…then we asked the price of the greenest bangles we could see displayed (simply) like sweets in a corner shop. RMB 800,000 was the answer. Our jaws dropped open. This is over $100,000… For a bangle!! “Yes” replied the unblinking shop lady. This is the price of something valuable.
We then saw amber, my favorite stone – with the transparent kind always containing some organic substance, well preserved. For me, it is a window into the past, maybe even hundreds of thousands of years. This was the most expensive, sold per gram, sometimes over $40 a gram. We saw many other stones, including ivory, which in comparison, was rather low-end. It took me a while to figure out that this was the “ivory market.” I now think we should stop using this name altogether. This was not an “ivory market”; Indeed, it was a “market with ivory”.
Many thoughts run through my mind at the memory of this experience. First, I wish to corroborate a Chinese current saying concerning this issue, which is that the ivory price is “not high.” Because ivory is sold in this market with all these other gems, in comparison, its price is rather low. The only difference I know, is that it has a high potential for price increase compared to the rest, wherein lies the first problem. Second, I wish to make an admission: walking through this market, all I saw was stones. Even I who works with elephants every day found it difficult to make the connections between this white stone – among green, blue, orange, yellow and red ones – and it’s origins. [Perhaps those who make a living bashing the “unfeeling” people who sell this need to take a trip here so we can speed along our quest for a common understanding.] I now see how complex this issue is, to recognize that out of all these colors thrown together, only one is the proof of killing. In this, I almost despair.
But I find hope quickly again. It is true that if this “stone” disappeared from this colorful market because the last elephant was killed, the market would not change much. But in the same breath, if this white stone vanished because the trade ended, the same would be true. It is not as big a deal here as we have believed. And for this reason, it can be changed.
英文原文：[In the market I took Chris and Resson to visit, an illegal Chinese ivory dealer approached Chris to do business together…]
A: Have a look!
B: Ok, let me see
A: I can sell this to you
B: How much is it?
A: This one costs 10,000RMB
B: Where is it from?
A: It comes from Kenya.
B: 10,000 is too high. Give me a better price.
A: Probably this product has no value in your country. Which country are you from? Are you from Kenya or Nigeria?
A: I am from Kenya.
B: Really? We can do some business.
Ivory business. I know we can find a lot of ivory in Kenya. Have a look at my other Kenyan friends. I always come to Kenya to do business. I also go to Nigeria to do business. Because you speak Chinese, we can do even better Chinese. Let me have your number…
The above is a conversation that happened yesterday at a market in Guangzhou China. The man in this case became interested in me after he realized that I can speak Chinese. He was wearing an ivory necklace which I was later informed that it shows that he has a wish to get very rich.
During the visit, my colleagues and I learnt a very important lesson. Ivory is not the most expensive product in China. We saw Jade products that go to prices as much Ksh.140,000,000 for a pair of bangles. The color of the jade stone determines the price. According to the shop owners, there are products that are very expensive that they make ivory products prices appear like a joke. At the same time, we came across a mammoth product that goes for Ksh.560,000,000. Ivory products also go for high prices. A good example is an ivory ball with 30 layers within the same ball that goes for Ksh.80,000,000. Most of the shops that sell the ivory have pieces of paper with part of the message saying “Do not carry ivory out of China.”
Most of the people we have spoken to during this tour are frank enough to say that they never had an idea what happens to elephants when the ivory is taken from them. Almost all of our listeners are shocked when they see and hear the stories of the elephants. They are eager and committed to do something. Plenty of ideas are been expressed. A lot of opportunities to work together have come up. I wish people will be willing to work together. More to follow as the experience continues.
About the conversation between me and the ivory dealer, may be you are wondering whether I gave him my number. What would you have done?