More than 40 NGOs call for ban on elephant ivory trade in Canada to help save African elephants

Tens of thousands of concerned Canadians and international stakeholders participated in public consultation on possible trade prohibitions

Humane Society International / Canada


Elephant and calf
Getty Images/istockphoto

MONTREAL—As the Canadian government’s public consultation on elephant ivory trade comes to an end, Humane Society International/Canada, Elephanatics, and more than 40 Canadian and international NGOs, together representing tens of millions of supporters globally, have signed on to a letter calling on the new Canadian government to take urgent action to prohibit elephant ivory trade.

Environment and Climate Change Canada launched the public consultation to hear feedback on proposed measures to restrict or end elephant ivory trade on July 23, 2021. During the 60-day consultation period, Canadians and individuals around the world voiced their support for ending Canada’s role in the elephant ivory trade.

Kelly Butler, the wildlife campaign manager for Humane Society International/Canada, stated:

“Canadians have made it clear that there is no place for elephant ivory trade in Canada. We are now calling on the newly elected Canadian government to listen to the overwhelming number of Canadians and international stakeholders who supported strict elephant ivory trade prohibitions and implement these measures urgently. Elephants do not have another four years to wait.”

Tessa Vanderkop, vice-president of Elephanatics, stated:

“The African elephant population has declined by a staggering 96% in the last century alone and the species is at risk of going extinct in the wild within the next few decades without global intervention. The United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and leading conservation organizations including the African Elephant Coalition have called for countries to close their legal elephant ivory markets in order to curtail poaching and save African elephants from extinction. Experts around the world agree that it’s beyond due time for Canada to close its elephant ivory market.”

The NGO-led sign-on letter calls on the Canadian government to implement the strictest measures that were proposed in the consultation, including prohibitions on importing elephant ivory for commercial purposes or as hunting trophies, and is signed by:

African Conservation Foundation, Animal Defenders International, Animal Justice, Animals Asia Foundation, BC SPCA, Big Life Foundation Canada, Born Free Foundation, Bring The Elephant Home, Canopy,  CATCA Environmental and Wildlife Society (CEWS), Earth League International (ELI), Elephanatics, Elephant Listening Project, Elephant Reintegration Trust, Family and Animal Wellness Inc, Fondation Franz Weber, For the Love of Wildlife Ltd, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, Humane Canada™, IFAW Canada, Insure Our Future, International Animal Rescue, Mara Elephant Project, Member of this planet, National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. New Zealanders for Endangered Wildlife founder, No Whales In Captivity, NRDC, Nsefu Wildlife Conservation Foundation, NSPCA, Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Pro Wildlife, Rhino & Elephant Defenders (RED), Save Elephant Foundation, SEEJ-AFRICA (Saving Elephants through Education and Justice), Shark Research Institute, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Species Survival Network, Standfast Developments Ltd, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, Two Million Tusks, WildlifeDirect, World Animal Protection Canada, World Animal Protection International, World Elephant Day, and Zoocheck Inc.

Quick Facts:

  • Every year, as many as 35,000 elephants die at the hands of elephant ivory poachers in Africa.
  • In March of 2021, the International Union for Conservation of Nature updated the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and declared the African forest elephant to be Critically Endangered and the African savanna elephant to be Endangered.
  • Canada’s top trading partners, including the United States, China and the United Kingdom have closed their elephant ivory markets in response to declining elephant populations.
  • In addition to the elephant ivory trade, Canada allows the import of elephant tusks and parts from trophy hunts. Approximately 300 African elephant tusks – representing 150 elephants – were legally imported into Canada from 2010-2018.
  • Repeated government seizures of elephant ivory in Canada are irrefutable evidence of illegal ivory trade in this nation. While such seizures may intercept some of the illegal trade that is occurring, it is conservatively assumed that customs intercepts just 10% of all contraband ivory.
  • In June, an open letter calling for an end to the elephant ivory trade in Canada was signed by notable Canadians including David Suzuki, Robert Bateman and Bryan Adams.
  • According to a 2020 poll by Insights West, 94% of Canadians support an elephant ivory trade ban. A public petition calling for a Canadian ban on the elephant ivory trade has amassed over 600,000 signatures.

ENDS

Media Contact: Michael Bernard: 613-371-5170; mbernard@hsi.org

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