In 1989, a worldwide ban on ivory trade was approved by CITES. Levels of poaching fell dramatically, and black market prices of ivory slumped.
CITES had saved the African Elephant. Or had it?
Since 1997, there have been sustained attempts by certain countries to weaken the ban. In 1999, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe were allowed an ‘experimental one-off sale’ of over 49,000kg of ivory to Japan. Then in 2002, a further one off-sale was approved, which finally took place in 2008 – and resulted in 105,000kg of ivory being shipped to China and Japan.
In a climate where both the black market price for ivory and its demand are so high, Elephants’ lives are put at risk by the mere prospect of a sanctioned sale of ivory. If the poaching of Elephants and ever growing trade in illegal ivory is to be seriously addressed, part of the solution to this complex problem must be a return to the full ban on the sale of ivory established in 1989.
Why the UK MUST act!
The UK is putting Elephants at risk of extinction through its broken promises on the ivory trade, according to campaigners. Before the last election, the Conservative party pledged to shut down the UK’s domestic ivory market: at the time 30,000 Elephants a year were being slaughtered for their tusks. But no action has been taken.
While bans on the international trade in ivory exist, a failure to observe similar measures at a national level is being exploited by criminal gangs who smuggle ivory into the UK, where it can be passed off as antique. Now, in the run-up to a major conference, more than 1.6 million people have signed a petition on the Avaaz activist website calling for the world’s domestic ivory markets to be closed down for good.
“The government’s broken promises to ban ivory sales in Britain are being paid for in the blood of African Elephants,” said Avaaz campaign director Bert Wander. “As one of the world’s most vocal advocates against the illegal wildlife trade, the UK must now practise what it preaches. Otherwise, China and other ivory hotspots will see no reason to put in place the permanent ban on ivory we need to stop Elephants being wiped from the face of the Earth.”
Please sign the PETITION to tell the UK Government to close the domestic ivory trade NOW!! Thank You.
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