Anahola woman cited for attempting to sell prohibited ivory

LIHUE — An Anahola woman was fined $250 last week and ordered to turn over jewelry made from illegal whale ivory she was caught trying to sell at a local farmer’s market.

Vivian Satow, 73, pleaded no contest to one count of wildlife trafficking, a misdemeanor, in Fifth Circuit Court on Dec. 3, according to a Kauai County press release on Monday.

Satow spoke with The Garden Island and said the investigation basically consisted of two officers who came to her booth, posing as regular shoppers, looking to buy a gift for a relative.

Satow said she had a slice of an old whale tooth among the jewelry she had displayed for sale. When the officers inquired about it, she pulled out the tooth it was cut from, a piece she said she bought about 20 years ago and carries with her only for educational purposes.

“I would take it out for the children,” she said. “And the children would be in awe of seeing something like that.”

The news release said county prosecutors brought charges against Satow after a joint investigation by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revealed she attempted to sell pieces of jewelry she knew contained illegal whale ivory at a farmer’s market in Anahola on May 15.

“This is the first conviction for whale bone in Hawaii under the new wildlife trafficking statute that took effect on July 1, 2017,” Kauai County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar said in the press release. “It shows that Kauai is on the forefront of environmental justice and we are grateful to our partners in DLNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife for their diligence in this shared mission to protect our wildlife from illegal trade practices.”

According to Satow, she is not the only jewelry vendor on Kauai to be charged for ivory trafficking in recent months, but she said government officials are targeting the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

“I’m a 73-year-old woman, you know, barely surviving,” she said. “They’re extracting money from the artists who are creating something beautiful from a tragic situation.”

Satow said government resources directed at cracking down on small-time jewelry vendors and artists like herself would be better spent investigating the large-scale impact big industry and technology are having on whales and their environment.

“It’s for the purpose of making money. They’re not saving the whales,” she said. “I don’t see one penny being spent to save the whales by the very system that’s destroying them.”

5 Comments
  1. Palani December 10, 2019 7:05 am Reply

    “It’s not me, it’s them.” That is a big part of the problem: people don’t see their contribution to the illegal trade. She doesn’t realize that what she’s doing contributes to the demand for illegal ivory.


  2. Richard Gontarek December 10, 2019 7:13 am Reply

    No one has a purer heart than Vivian. Her love of the land, the animals and the arts are what everyone everyone on Kauai should strive to emulate. The way she has been treated in this situation is a shame.


  3. MisterM December 10, 2019 7:30 am Reply

    Fine should have been much bigger. Blaming the government for not ‘doing something’ when it’s disgusting people like her who profit off the slaughter is despicable.


  4. gordon oswald December 10, 2019 8:06 am Reply

    This is a perfect example of a Government functioning in the absence of common sense! This “arrest” should never have happened under the circumstances. If law enforcement would find those killing the whales and those harvesting them for sale, the whales and humanity would be grateful! Arresting a little old hard working lady for selling something made from an old whale tooth she’s owned for years is absurd and should be undone!!


  5. CommonSenseish December 11, 2019 4:15 pm Reply

    It’s ALWAYS someone else’s fault. 73 year-olds should know better. I bet she wasn’t even going to pay taxes on that either, just pocket um. GRANNIES BUSTED. Don’t do the crime if you don’t wanna do the time. She is from ATown tho, I’m sure we can now expect over dramatic sign holding protests in front of the airport about how unfair it is that she got caught. *eyeroll*


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