Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

People and elephants continue to die for ivory


As ADI predicted at CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) last year, people as well as elephants are dying on the front lines in the ivory wars.

In May, rangers with the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) encountered a poaching gang, believed to be from a neighbouring war-torn country. In the first of two gun battles, one ranger and a poacher were killed. The KWS rangers called for reinforcements, tracked the gang through the night and at 8am there was another fire fight during which another ranger and another poacher were killed.

Many KWS rangers have now been killed or maimed during the battle to protect the country’s wildlife. Weapons that have been recovered from poachers include rifles, machine guns, and even a grenade launcher.

KWS Director Michael Wamithi noted, ’So long as there is a market for ivory, the lives of elephant and the rangers who protect these magnificent creatures will always be at risk.’

The CITES lists, known as Appendices I and II, are revised every two-and-a-half years. Appendix I prohibits all commercial trade in some 900 species that are threatened with extinction whilst Appendix II regulates trade in 4,000 animal and 22,000-plus plant species through a system of permits.

The Species Survival Network (SSN), founded in 1992, is an international coalition of over sixty non-governmental organizations (NGOs) committed to the promotion, enhancement, and strict enforcement of CITES. Through scientific and legal research, education and advocacy, the SSN is working to prevent over-exploitation of animals and plants due to international commercial trade. ADI is a member of SSN.

The Animal Defenders International has previously lobbied at the CITES conference in Zimbabwe, and gave a presentation to a CITES standing committee in Portugal on the identification of circus animals to eliminate smuggling. In Mozambique, ADI showed huge irregularities in CITES documentation for animals with the Akef Egyptian Circus (the circus was suspected of being a smuggling front). This was one of the factors that enabled us to seize every animal with the circus and relocate them. After six years of lobbying, the ADI proposals for stricter controls on cross border movements of animal exhibiitons were almost all adopted by the CITES Conference of Parties in November 2002.

© Animal Defenders International 2020