Conservationists welcome move to tighten international legal protection for elephants
As Kenya prepares to burn 105 tonnes of stockpiled ivory on Saturday 30 April – the largest destruction of ivory in Africa’s history and seven times the size of any ivory stockpile destroyed so far – non-governmental organizations working to save elephants are praising African countries for their plans to secure a permanent ban on the global ivory trade and the destruction of ivory stockpiles worldwide.
This week, on behalf of the 27 member states in the African Elephant Coalition (AEC), Co-Chairs Benin and Kenya along with several other member countries have submitted five complementary proposals for discussion at the 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, to be held in Johannesburg from 24 September to 5 October. By banning global ivory trade, closing domestic markets and recommending destruction of stockpiles, the strong package is designed to ensure the long-term survival of elephants in Africa and Asia. The set of measures includes listing all African elephants in Appendix I of CITES, affording them the highest level of international protection.
“African Elephants are declining at an alarming rate. The world needs to act now and ban ivory trade categorically and permanently, before it is too late. It is vital that elephant populations across Africa are united in Appendix I”, said Vera Weber, President of Fondation Franz Weber.
“We applaud the governments united in the African Elephant Coalition for putting forward a strong package that would afford elephants the highest level of international protection. We urge all CITES Parties to support this move and to help save the world’s remaining elephants”, added Sally Case, CEO of David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.
“Clearly, all previous experiments to permit a legal, controlled trade in ivory have failed. We can turn the tide if we close the legal markets that enable laundering of ivory from poached elephants or leaked from stockpiles”, declared Daniela Freyer, Co-founder of Pro Wildlife.
“More and more governments around the world are acting against elephant poaching: whether it is announcements to close domestic markets, bans on ivory exports or imports or the rapidly increasing destruction of ivory stockpiles. It’s time to acknowledge that ivory trade needs to be stopped on a global scale – once and for all”, said Charlotte Nithart, CEO of Robin des Bois.
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