NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 24 – Twenty nine African nations under the African Elephant Coalition will meet for the next five days in Montreux, Switzerland to consolidate their position in the ban of ivory trade.
The countries will discuss five complementary proposals submitted to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) together with other co-proponents, to provide an integrated package to protect elephants by strengthening international CITES law.
“The package of five proposals is a decisive response to the poaching crisis facing African elephants over the last decade, caused by the legal sale of ivory stockpiles to China and Japan in 2008,” said Vera Weber, President of the Swiss-based Foundation Franz Weber.
The proposals are:
Listing all elephants in CITES Appendix I,
The closure of domestic ivory markets,
The destruction of ivory stockpiles,
Ending the Decision-Making Mechanism for legalizing trade in ivory, and
Limiting the export of wild, live African elephants to conservation projects in their natural habitat.
Taken together, the proposals would put an end to the ivory trade and afford elephants the highest protection under international law.
The crisis facing the African elephant is still very real, and calls for a global unity of purpose.
Of the 29 countries represented in the Coalition, 25 of them are African elephant range States, in which 68% of the African elephants occur in the wild.
At the height of the killing from 2010 to 2012, at least 100,000 elephants were killed in Africa for their ivory, many of them in AEC countries.
“It is critically important that CITES takes decisive action to ban international and domestic trade in ivory to save elephants from imminent extinction. We are making a collective stand for the long-term survival of elephants throughout Africa and calling on the world to stand with us,” said Weber.
Deputy Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service, Patrick Omondi said the meeting is timely in addressing ivory trade which has seen at least 100,000 elephants have been killed in Africa for their ivory, many of them in AEC countries.
Omondi highlighted that poaching of elephants and rhinos and illegal wildlife trade is a major problem across much of Africa threatening the very survival of iconic species.
“Poaching fuels corruption, insecurity as well as harming the sustainable economic development of local communities but also national economies,” he said.