GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Poaching of elephant ivory in Africa is at its highest level in 20 years, according to Cites (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) officials. John Scanlon, the convention’s head, told reporters in Geneva 5 October that it will be “probably the most contentious issue” at the meeting of members in March 2013, in Bangkok.
Cites Friday published 67 new proposals by member countries, two of which focus on elephant ivory and trade in it, from African nations. The first is essentially a proposal from five countries to ban ivory trade in all countries: Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Kenya, Mali and Togo are behind the proposal.
Limited trade and harvesting from culled elephants is currently allowed in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Tanzania has put forward a second proposal that would allow it a one-off sale of stockpiles, something which has been done in the past in other countries, notably Zimbabwe. It would also allow limited trading: in hunting trophies for non-commercial purposes; in raw hides including feet, ears and tail; and “trade in live animals to appropriate and acceptable destinations” as defined by Cites.
Other proposals included three from Switzerland. Two would delete species from the lists because they no longer need protection, Sonnerat’s junglefowl and the imperial pheasant. Another would move Attwater’s prairie chicken from appendix I, the most endangered list, to appendix II, species that still need protection but that are not endangered.