The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Doha, Qatar will take place March 13-25, where delegates from 175 countries will make decisions on CITES regulations that protect biodiversity.
One of the issues on the table will be whether or not to uphold the ban on ivory sales, with proposals on both sides of the argument on whether or not to allow the sale of ivory stocks, along with ways to improve conservation efforts and sustain elephant populations.
In 1989 CITES banned the international commercial ivory trade. In 1999 and 2002 it was decided that populations of African elephants were healthy enough to allow sales of ivory stocks to Japan, which raised approximately 20 million (USD) for elephant conservation and community development programs for areas near elephant ranges.
However, despite estimates of healthy populations, the sales lead to even more illegal poaching.
An estimated 38,000 African elephants are killed each year for their tusks. Another CITES-approved sale will devastate the remaining elephants by triggering an increase in demand and sending even more illegal ivory into markets abroad, particularly in the Far East, pushing elephants closer to extinction, according to In Defense of Animals.
Tanzania and Zambia will be asking for government approval to sell a combined amount of about 130 tons of ivory, in addition to having elephants removed from the Endangered Species list.
The Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Rwanda and Sierra Leone are on the opposite side, proposing a halt to the limited international trade in African elephant ivory, along with a 20-year moratorium on any proposals to relax international trade controls on African elephants, according to CITES.
Kenya made the same plea at the 2007 CITES meeting, but was unsuccessful.
Dr. James Njogu, Conventions Head of the Kenya Wildlife Service is concerned that if Tanzania is successful in removing elephants from the Endangered Species list and begins to sell ivory that it will create even more of a demand for ivory and Kenya’s elephants will also be in greater danger of poaching since the two countries share a border.
Join the Kenyan Wildlife Service in urging the US Congress to extend the ivory trade ban. Please help protect the ever-dwindling elephant population by signing the Care2 petition today!