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CITES got one thing right: it said ‘no’ to elephant ivory trade

March 30, 2010

There is much lamenting about the outcomes of the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting this year, and I am among those feel depressed.

But there were a few positive outcomes of the CITES meeting in Doha, Qatar.

One such  light was countries rejecting the proposal by Zambia and Tanzania to reopen trade in ivory. I wrote a post about this proposal a few weeks ago: The sale of ivory, or the sale of elephants?

Experts have said for long time now that to open such trade, even for stockpiles, would worsen the surge in illegal trafficking driven by Asian-based organized crime.

The debate was tense, but ultimately the meeting Tanzania’s request to sell 80.5 tonnes of stockpiled ivory, as were Zambia and Tanzania’s proposals to down-list wild African elephant populations to a lower level of protection.

Even without CITES sanctioned ivory trade,  tens of thousands of African elephants are still butchered every year for their tusks. Poachers have taken to using heavy arms to carry out military-style operations, leaving local law enforcement outmatched. So the fight goes on.

Margi Prideaux

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