This week the world’s nations will meet at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Doha, Qatar to consider lifting an international ban on ivory trade to permit one-off sales of stockpiled ivory. If lifted, endangered African elephants could be wiped out.
“Every time CITES approves an ivory sale it translates into an open hunting season on elephants across Africa and a death sentence for tens of thousands of protected elephants,” said Samuel LaBudde, a biologist with the Environmental Investigation Agency. “It would be a tragedy for elephants and a travesty of conservation principles for CITES to approve Tanzania and Zambia‘s applications to downlist protections for elephants.”
Both Tanzania and Zambia are pushing to have restrictions lifted and have proposed selling their ivory stocks despite intensive elephant poaching and illegal ivory trade within their countries.
The last time CITES permitted a one-off ivory sale was in 2008, when Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe were allowed to sell a total of 108 tonnes to China and Japan.
From 2008 to 2009, illegal ivory seizures doubled, poaching death rate of elephants grew to nearly 10% and the price of ivory has ballooned to record levels — with Tanzania deeply implicated in the bloody trade as the source of almost half of the 24 tonnes captured.
But many African countries are standing firm to uphold the ban. Support these countries leading the charge by signing this petition to save elephants and stop the bloody ivory trade: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/no_more_bloody_ivory_fb/?vl
Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) released a new report today that exposes large-scale illegal ivory trade in Tanzania and Zambia.
EIA undercover investigators recently visited Tanzania and Zambia and returned with harrowing first-hand evidence documenting a flourishing trade in illegal ivory in both countries, often exacerbated by official corruption.
Tanzania’s elephant population declined by more than 30,000 elephants between 2006 and 2009, primarily from poaching to supply black-market ivory to Asia. Rampant poaching is concentrated around the Selous Game Reserve where 40% of Tanzania’s elephants are located. In 2009 several major seizures totaling some 12 tons of ivory occurred in Asia. DNA studies from earlier seizures of Tanzanian ivory in Asia has shown that much of the ivory originated from the Selous.
“Time after time, CITES actions to allow supposedly limited ivory sales stimulate a massive escalation in elephant poaching and ivory smuggling all across Africa,” said Allan Thornton, President of EIA. He continued, “The only thing accomplished by these legally sanctioned ivory sales beyond enriching Chinese and Japanese ivory merchants, is to imperil elephant conservation and provide legal market cover for smuggling and laundering of poached ivory.”
The full extent of the illegal ivory trade in these countries is documented in the new EIA report Open Season: The Burgeoning Illegal Ivory Trade in Tanzania and Zambia, and available online at: www.eia–global.org.
Across the world’s cultures and throughout our history elephants have been revered in religions and have captured our imagination — Babar, Dumbo, Ganesh, Airavata, Erawan. But today these beautiful and highly intelligent creatures are being annihilated…
As long as there is demand for ivory, elephants are at risk from poaching and smuggling — but this week we have a chance to help stop it.
So what can you do?
- Sign the petition to save elephants and stop the bloody ivory trade, and pass it on: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/no_more_bloody_ivory_fb/?vl
- Visit www.elephantivoryproject.org to learn more. Knowledge is power. More than 100 elephants are killed every day by poachers. It doesn’t have to be that way.
- Don’t buy ivory! The U.S. has the 2nd highest demand for ivory. If you buy ivory, you’ve killed an elephant. Nuff said.