CITES makes clear its resounding opposition to resumption of ivory trade

Commercial trade in ivory is the biggest threat to the survival of African elephants, says Humane Society International

Humane Society International / Global

Iris Ho/HSI Seized elephant ivory in Kenya waiting to be destroyed, 2016

GENEVA—Elephant advocates are celebrating in Geneva as the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has today roundly rejected proposals to open up international commercial trade in elephant ivory.

Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe had proposed they be allowed to lift restrictions on their Appendix II CITES listings to allow trade in registered government-owned ivory stock piles. They offered a floor amendment to allow a one-off sale followed by a six-year moratorium. The amended proposal was defeated with only 23 countries in support, 101 opposing and 18 abstentions. Zambia proposed that its elephant population be down listed from Appendix I to Appendix II, also so that it could trade in its registered raw ivory and other elephant specimens. Its proposal was overwhelmingly defeated as well with 22 in support, 102 opposed and 13 abstentions.

Iris Ho, Humane Society International’s senior wildlife specialist: “Commercial trade in ivory is the biggest threat to the survival of African elephants. So it was incredibly important to see so many African nations show their unwavering opposition to this destructive trade at today’s vote. While it is unfortunate that a handful of southern African countries showed themselves to be out of touch with reality, supporting ivory trade despite an increase in poaching and alarming transnational ivory trafficking in certain areas, at the end of the day common sense prevailed. We are thrilled that the CITES Parties overwhelmingly rejected the reopening of the international commercial trade in ivory.”

Humane Society International strongly commends the 32 countries in the African Elephant Coalition for opposing the commercial ivory trade and all of the CITES parties that stood with them today.


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