Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Elephants Threatened


November 2002: CITES Parties Vote to Allow One-off Sale of Ivory Stockpiles Held by Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

During November 2002, a team from ADI was active at the Conference of Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Santiago, Chile. ADI lobbied delegates from the 159 countries that are members of CITES on a range of important issues including turtle conservation, commercial captive breeding operations for endangered species, circus animal transport, bear bile farming, and one of the hottest topics of the Conference - ivory.

After heated debate, the 159-member country Convention of the Parties to CITES voted to allow the one-off sale of ivory stockpiles held by Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. Similar proposals from Zimbabwe and Zambia were refused, due to lack of proper controls in those countries.

It is widely expected that this will signal to many the reopening of the ivory trade. Although all five countries failed to secure subsequent annual quotas for ivory sales, the message to poachers will be that the ivory trade is back in business.

A proposal from Kenya and India to increase protection for African elephants was withdrawn in the light of the decision to allow the sale of the stockpiles.

Kenya, which is successful in both animal and tourism management, but is surrounded by unstable neighbours roamed by gangs with a proliferation of weapons, has been thrown to the wolves. The Kenyans expect that it will not just be the elephants that die, but even more young Kenyan men defending their countryıs wildlife against poachers armed with automatic weapons.

As Kenya called for protection from CITES, in a secret ballot the European Union apparently abstained in the votes concerning Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.

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