Friday, October 17, 2008

AWF: Stockpiled Ivory to Be Auctioned by Four African Countries

AWF: Stockpiled Ivory to Be Auctioned by Four African Countries
The sale of ivory stockpiles from African countries with well-managed elephant populations will move forward in late October. © Craig R. Sholley.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA--Approximately 119 tons of stockpiled ivory from more than 10,000 elephants will be auctioned from four southern African nations starting in late October. The sale is the first to be sanctioned in nearly a decade.
Japan, approved by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as an ivory importer in 2007, and China, which got the green light from CITES this summer, will bid on the stockpiled ivory.
Since its 1989 ban on the ivory trade, CITES has twice allowed countries with growing and well-managed elephant populations to sell ivory stockpiles, requiring them to reinvest the proceeds in elephant conservation. Each sale has sparked controversy, with many conservationists arguing that such transactions encourage elephant poaching and fuel the illegal ivory trade.
The debate surrounding the CITES’ decision underscores the disparate challenges facing elephant conservationists across Africa. While strong in some countries, elephant populations are still struggling to rebound from near decimation in others. Loss of land and habitat fragmentation are two of the greatest threats to these iconic pachyderms, which need vast areas to feed and thrive.
Through its Africa Heartland Program, AWF works to combine parks, private lands and community areas into large conservation landscapes that give elephants and other wildlife the room they need to thrive. It is our belief that such large-landscape conservation is the soundest strategy for securing the future of Africa’s magnificent elephants across the continent.

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