Saturday, 29 December 2012

Tanzania to withdraw proposal for ivory sale

Major ivory seizures forced rethink
December 2012. The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has learnt from well-placed, reliable and confidential sources in Tanzania that the Government of that country is to withdraw its controversial proposal to the next full meeting of CITES, which will take place in Bangkok in March 2013, to reduce protection for its elephant population and sell-off 101 tonnes of stockpiled ivory.

According to the EIA, "This move, as yet not confirmed officially, is the only logical course for Tanzania to take - recent major seizures of ivory apparently originating in Tanzania show clearly how little control the country has over the illegal trade in ivory and how vulnerable its elephants really are. Tanzania's withdrawal of its ill-conceived proposal is very good news, and this development is a wonderful early Christmas gift to elephants everywhere."

EIA was the first NGO to reveal Tanzania's plans in October, and the first to formally announce its opposition to the proposed downlisting and ivory.

An EIA spokesman added "At that time we branded the proposal as ‘ludicrous', coming as it did when ivory poaching is escalating and the CITES ivory-trading mechanism itself is increasingly being called into question. EIA firmly believes that such CITES-approved stockpile auctions serve only to stimulate the market for ivory, confusing consumers as to whether ivory is legitimate and spurring further poaching as demand in consumer countries such as China grows.

"We have previously called for China to be stripped of its 'Approved Buyer' status because its domestic market it flooded with poached ivory which is effectively laundered behind the screen of a legal supply.

"EIA works to seek the return of a total global ban on all trade in ivory and an absolute end to all CITES-approved stockpile sales."

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