STOP IVORY TRADE - DONíT LIFT THE BAN!
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|Supporting Trade In
||Lobbying Against the Resumption In Ivory Trade|
1. No hard evidence exists that poaching has increased since last year's experimental auction.
|1a. If there is the
slightest bit of doubt that resuming the trade in ivory could threaten
this majestic species, then let humanity take a chance in it is favor
versus the risk of doing irreparable damage.
1b. According to the Director of Kenya Wildlife Services, during 1999 in Kenya, over 60 elephants were poached vs. an average of 15 per year prior to 1999. According to ITN News, in Zimbabwe, poachers have also killed a very large number of elephants. In the past year alone, Kenya authorities have seized at least 4 times the amount of ivory being smuggled as compared to the previous year. This does not include any estimation of actual poaching.
1c. Prior to the CITES imposed ban in 1989, in Kenya alone, the elephant population plummeted from over 140,000 in the early 70's to under 20,000 at the time of the ban. After the ban in Ivory trade was imposed, demand was suppressed due to international enforcement. According to the Director of Kenya Wildlife Services, if the ban had not been imposed in 1989, Kenya's elephant population would have been wiped out.
|2. South African Director of Conservation claims the stockpiled tusks are numbered.||2. Can proponents of the ivory trade be relied upon to provide unbiased verification of the origin of tusks? A simple number on a tusk is not sufficient proof of the origin of the ivory.|
|3. The Southern African countries have effective conservation and anti-poaching programs. The nations reporting about their inability to protect their elephant herds can do more.||3. This is great. Unfortunately there is a high value being created by the resumption of ivory trade.|
|4. Ivory being sold is from culled elephants only since it is possible to verify the origin of tusks.||4a. How practical is it to
verify that a particular piece of Ivory is from Kruger and not another
location such as Mozambique or Congo? Chemical substance, DNA or
serialization certainly are possibilities but let's be realistic. The
cost and resources for doing this would exceed the one-time sale
proceeds of $4.0 million, unless substantially more sales of ivory are
4b. For many East and Central African countries, tourism is the leading source of employment and income. When National Parks become killing grounds for wildlife, tourism numbers drop dramatically and the economies become more reliant on foreign aid, thus eroding human dignity.
It is quite unlikely that a visitor interested in a big game, photographic safari will want to be in the same area as an elephant hunt. This is not to say that strictly controlled hunting on condition that the ivory can never be traded, cannot be incorporated as part of the culling process.
Unfortunately the countries in many parts of east and central Africa just do not have the resources and their economies and budgets are smaller than those of the Southern African countries proposing the trade. For example:
Pro-trade countries - Budget (est.
Against trade - Budget
|5. South African Director of Conservation has stated that various steps will be taken to reduce the chances of 'dirty ivory' being laundered. One of these methods is to sell the stocks only to Japanese carvers who show identification.||5. By its own admission, the South African government has recognized the possibility of 'dirty ivory' being laundered by lifting the ban, and this should be sufficient reason enough to maintain the ban.|
|6. Money realized from the sale of ivory is utilized for conservation projects and local communities.||6. It would be interesting to review internationally verifiable accounts of the proportion of revenue that is actually, and directly assigned back to local communities in hard cash from the sale of ivory, and not masked as services provided, nor commissions or management costs.|
|7. Legalized trade will ensure trade in "clean" ivory. Elephant populations are viable and growing.||7. If the trade in ivory is legalized, there is bound to be a surge in demand, which cannot be met from just culled elephants or those from natural death. There is no question that bloody ivory from poaching will re-enter the market.|
|8. There is no proof that the increase in the price of Ivory is due to 1999 sales of Ivory.||8. According to Director of the Kenya Wildlife Services, the price of ivory has increased from about $22 per kilo to around $300 per kg, which represents windfall profit by any standards - whether for poachers or groups succeeding in legalizing the trade.|
|9. Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa claim that there will be payments for rural communities on whose land ivory is harvested.||9. South Africa claims that the proposed sale of 30 tons is from the Kruger National Park. However, on the western boundaries of Kruger are private conservancy areas on which are luxury tourist lodges, on the entire eastern boundary is Mozambique; to the north the park borders Zimbabwe; then there are local communities who live within the boundaries of Kruger National Park and have no title to the land. Yet South Africa claims that the ivory is from 'Kruger National Park'. Verifying the origin of Ivory is difficult.|
|10. Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe are now pushing for annual quotas of approx. 25 tons.||10. In 1997, these countries requested, and were allowed a 'one-off sale' and now they are requesting an annual quota. At what point does this cease being a one-off sale and how are the elephant numbers going to sustain these ivory harvests?|
|11. Limits should be placed on growth in elephant population, or they will destroy themselves.||11. If proper conservation programs were in place, there would not be the 'excessive growth' in elephant populations to a point where they become self-destructive or a danger to local communities, unless the excessive increases was deliberately allowed with the objective being to harvest them eventually for the ivory.|
|12. Culling and hunting activities are a source of revenue for local communities||12. There is no doubt that culling is part and parcel of a sustainable conservation system to ensure long term protection of the wildlife environment, safety of the local communities, and to avoid wildlife over population. In this context, if hunting activity can be incorporated as part of the culling process, and actually creates localized income, then that too is acceptable. However, there should never be trade in the elephant ivory obtained as a result. To this end, there can be no compromise. We have to look at the big picture and protection of the elephant throughout the continent.|
|13. Income from trade in ivory will allow purchase of additional land for the elephant.||13. Land is already limited in wildlife regions and if any is purchased, it is often from a non-local individual investor. Elephants require large areas according to density studies and therefore token land purchases, which profit selected investors, cannot be the answer. Instead, proper conservation policies limiting the population growth and encouraging tourism are more sustainable policies.|
|14. To the 11th CITES in April, South Africa has proposed a one-off sale of 30 tons of whole elephant tusks from the Kruger National Park.||14. In 1997, CITES allowed Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia to make "one-off sales" of 60 tons of Ivory (over 1000 elephants). That obviously was not enough. Now, these three countries are lobbing support of South Africa's request for "one-off" sale of 30 tons. It gets interesting Ö Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana are now also seeking an annual Ivory sales quota of about 25 tons, which S Africa is supporting. An advisor to the South African Ministry of Environmental Affairs has been quoted by Reuters to say, "they will back us and we will back them".|
|15. Southern African countries should be permitted to sell their 'natural' stocks because elephant populations are increasing.||15. Population statistics mentioned in the media are questionable. For example, since 1981 the population of elephants in Botswana has been reported to grow from 20,000 to over 100,000. In South Africa and Namibia, it has supposedly grown from 10,000 to 22,000. Given the gestation period, mortality and life expectancy averaging 60 years, there would not be a significant number of tusks originating from natural deaths. Furthermore, the growth in elephant population is questionable; a population undisturbed can grow at only 6 percent per year according to the IUCN (International Union of Conservation of Nature), an elephant specialist group.|
|(The comments and arguments contained herein are an expression of personal opinions, figures indicated may be erroneous, and there is no intention for the contents to be hurtful to any person or entity.)|
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