Zimbabwe and Namibia file petitions to remove international ivory trade ban and start ivory sale

Zimbabwe and Namibia file petitions to remove international ivory trade ban and

Proposals have been made to lift the international ivory trade ban and allow the sale of ivory for one more time. The proposals will come up for voting in a meeting to take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from September 23 to October 5.

Countries in southern Africa, especially Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, want to sell ivory. Rowan Martin, Zimbabwe’s representative to CITES, said that the ivory ban is a complete failure. In fact, proposals made by Zimbabwe and Namibia would make the elephant populations there to be removed from the global ban on commercial trade of elephants and their parts.

Zimbabwe has even threatened that it would not follow the international ban. Martin has affirmed that their elephant populations are at such a level that they can have ivory trade. On the other hand, Namibia’s proposal has unveiled that they will consider the CITES ivory trade restriction to be ultra vires, which means beyond the law.

In fact, it even issues a diplomatic threat as per which if Namibia is not allowed to sell ivory, it will consider CITES restrictions as if they have not been written. In 2008, CITES permitted a one-time sale of ivory from southern Africa to China and Japan on one condition that no nation will come up and propose to sell ivory again for at least nine years.

But Zimbabwe has argued in its proposal that no other nation can take away its right to negotiate and Namibia has affirmed that CITES has not been able to uphold an important part of the 2008 compromise agreement.

“Activists in the West say wildlife belongs to everybody. The hell it does! It belongs to the people on whose land it occurs. The people who pay for it!” said Martin.

According to a report in National Geographic by Bryan Christy, Countries in southern Africa-notably Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe-have not only opposed ivory destruction as a conservation tool, they wish to do the opposite of burning ivory. They want to sell it. "The ivory ban is a total failure," says Rowan Martin, Zimbabwe's representative to CITES. Proposals by Zimbabwe and Namibia would remove their elephant populations from the global ban on commercial trade in elephants or their parts.

It's a fight that has been waged for more than a quarter of a century, employing many of the same tools (last spring Kenya set fire to an estimated hundred million dollar's worth of ivory) and even some of the same people- most notably Martin himself. In 1989 Martin was Zimbabwe's CITES representative and led a block of southern African countries in opposition to proposals for a global ivory trade ban. Zimbabwe and its partners lost, and the ivory ban went into effect in 1990.

A report published in the IB Times said, "Though the poaching of elephants for ivory is relatively low in South Africa, the lumbering creature still faces a number of issues that threaten its survival. In the country's many reserves and parks, the challenge facing conservationists is how to manage an elephant population with limited space and resources. If the elephants in these reserves were left to reproduce on their own, they would soon overpopulate the space, use up resources and end up harming their own futures."

Previously, culling or relocating were the only available methods for park managers to deal with this potential threat but after over a decade of development, a number of South Africa's parks are looking to a new way. Humane Society International (HSI), along with scientists, have been trialling a non-hormonal, non-steroidal birth control for female elephants. This method, called "immunocontraception", is currently being successfully used on 746 female elephants in 23 reserves, including South Africa's oldest - Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park.

"Some of my best moments for Manchester City have been goals scored at the end of lung-busting runs through central midfield. Once I'm into my stride, not many opponents can knock me off the ball. The media gave me nicknames: "colossus" or "the human train." But when I read it or am asked about it, my mind sometimes wanders to a real colossus of this earth: the African elephant," according to a news report published by Independent News.

Five centuries later, ivory trading remains a lucrative international business. We have only a few hundred elephants left in Cote d'Ivoire, and the picture for Africa as a whole is dismal. In 2010-2012, 100,000 of these wonderful animals were killed, one-fifth of the continent's population. Poaching has caused the number of forest elephants - the main sub-species in Cote d'Ivoire - to plummet by two-thirds in the last decade.


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