October 5, 2016
Numerous Nations Call For End To Legal Ivory Trade
A number of nations, at a conference held by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), are agreeing to end the legal ivory trade worldwide. There are nations on both sides of the debate, however, a number of countries are supporting an all out ban.
While the agreement isn’t legally binding, Time states that the agreement is the “first time in history member states have agreed to end, rather than regulate, domestic ivory sales”. CITES also announced that, for the first time, destroying seized ivory stockpiles was a viable option; 22 countries are already taking action on that mandate.
One elephant killed every 15 minutes. According to the Guardian, more than 140,000 Savannah elephants were poached for ivory between 2007 and 2014. While there is a total ban on trading ivory internationally, some countries permit some ivory items (such as antiques) to be bought and sold domestically.
Not all member states support enforcing stricter measures on the ivory trade. In June, Zimbabwe announced it would lobby to lift the international ban of ivory sales during the same CITES conferences referenced here. In July, the European Union issued a paper against a complete ban on the domestic ivory trade; instead, they advocated for countries with growing elephant populations to “sustainably manage” said populations.
However, on October 3, Botswana – the country with the largest elephant population – also decided to support the total ban on ivory trading. As stated by National Geographic, Botswana, as well as Namibia and Zimbabwe, have been allowed to sell their stockpile of ivory to other countries in recent years. However, these sales also increased elephant poaching across Africa dramatically, according to a recent study.
According to Robert Hepworth, a former CITES official and current advisor for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Botswana’s announcement “may attract enough votes to get this crucial decision made”.
Featured image source: National Geographic