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Lynne Leakey Blog - Kenya Calls for Total Ban on Ivory Trade

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  Jan Tuesday, 12 January 2010 15:10

Lynne Leakey Blog - Kenya Calls for Total Ban on Ivory Trade

Lynne Leakey Blog


January 11, 2010
Kenya call for Total ban on Ivory Trade
Filed under: conservation — admin @ 8:31 am


Elephant conservation news 02 January – 08 January 2010
Kenya is set to call in March for a total ban on ivory trade, at an international convention on wildlife conservation, reports.

Its campaign will run in opposition to that of Tanzania and Zambia, who in November 2009 submitted proposals for the relaxation of the 1989 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) ban on the trade, to allow the sale of stock-piled ivory.

However the Kenyan Wildlife Service said that such a window would only increase demand for the illegal product.
Kenya reports losing over 200 elephants to poachers in 2009, up from 145 in 2008, and just 47 in 2007.

A precedent for exemptions to the ban was set in 1997, when regulations were relaxed to allow for the one-off sale of 60 tonnes of stock-piled ivory from Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

South African animal rights group slams ‘unreliable’ Government wildlife figures

Animal Rights Africa has published a report accusing the South African Government of releasing ‘unreliable’ wildlife statistics, questioning how “balanced decisions can be made at a national level”.

Elephant Poaching and Ivory Trade Fact Sheet

 In 1979 there were estimated to be 1.3 million elephants in Africa. By 1989 only 600,000 remained.
 This catastrophic loss was almost entirely due to the killing of elephants for their ivory.
 Major public awareness campaigns were launched in the US and Europe to save the elephant and halt the illegal trade in ivory.
 In October 1989, through CITES (the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna), a ban on all international trade in ivory was passed.
 The CITES ban went into effect in January 1990.
 Before and at the same time individual countries imposed their own import bans on ivory.
 Demand for ivory dried up. Contrary to everything the economists predicted the price of ivory dropped dramatically from about $300 per kilo to about $3 per kilo.

 Elephants in many parts of Africa were left in peace and their populations were able to recover. As an example, Kenya lost over 85% of its elephants in a 15 year period, going from 153,000 to 19,000.  In the years after the ban the population grew to over 35,000.

 In 1997 four southern African countries (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe) succeeded in having their elephant populations downlisted by CITES to a less endangered status. They were allowed to sell their ivory stockpiles to CITES-designated buyers.

 The first sale in 1999 went to Japan, the second sale in 2008 went to Japan and China. China bought 62 tons of ivory. Many predicted that this sale would fuel a massive appetite for ivory in China. That prediction appears to have been correct.

Present Situation

 Approximately 400,000 remain in Africa today.

 38,000 elephants are dying per year to feed the ivory trade, according to Dr. Sam Wasser who has carried out genetic studies of confiscated ivory. If this rate continues elephants will be extinct in less than15 years.
 Poaching is on the increase in east, central and west Afrca.

 Confiscations of illegal have greatly increased. “ETIS [Elephant Trade Information System] indicates that between 2007 (the last time data was collected) and 2009, over 2,000 seizures of illegal elephant material were recorded by authorities, a sharp increase from years past. The increased rate of poaching, coupled with the large quantities of ivory in individual seizures, suggests that criminal networks are behind the trade and manipulating local populations to increase their profits.” (MediaGlobal, 21-11-09)

 Ivory carving factories and sales of ivory items have increased in China since they were able to buy the stockpiled ivory.  Demand has escalated. There are 1.3 billion Chinese. If only a small precent increase their purchase of ivory the effect on elephant populations will be devastating.

 In China in 2009 an extra 37 stores were approved as new, official ivory retail outlets.

 Chinese companies are working throughout Africa. Esmond Bradley Martin, the leading ivory trade expert, said: “The Chinese are all over Africa and are buying up ivory, worked and raw. The last time I was up in Khartoum or Omdurman I found that about 75% of all ivory being sold was bought by Chinese.” (Daily Nation, 11-11-09)

What Should be Done to Save Elephants

 Ideally a permanent ban on the sale of ivory internationally and within nations.

 Public awareness to reduce demand. Like the drug trade, with people out there willing to pay as much a $1500 per kilo, poachers and smugglers will find a way to get ivory to the people who will buy it.

 Short of a permanent ban the Kenya-led proposal for a 20 year moratorium should be supported.
 There is good evidence that the stockpile sales to Japan and China have fueled demand for ivory. No more stockpiles should be sold. Tanzania’s and Zambia’s proposals to downlist their elephant populations so that they can sell their stockpiles should be rejected.

For further information visit: »


Excerpts from Kuki Gallmann’s news update from the Laikipia Nature Conservancy:

 ”Now, my friends, I must tell you about the poaching, because the world
must know. And because we need your help to stop this madness.
Committed individuals  are the ones- as we know-who can make  the only
 real  difference.
 So-for the ones who do not yet know- here it is, with no frills:

  Since the ban of ivory sales in 1989,  championed by Kenya who was
 losing its elephants mostly to Somali Poachers,  and the  brave
 gesture of the ivory Fire, Elephant enjoyed a  time of peace and
   In  mid 2007  four countries in Southern Africa  successfully
 asked  CITES -which regulates the wildlife trade- to be allowed to
 sell to China their ivory stockpiled over twenty years: this tragic
 move meant an immediate revival of the black market and a renewed wave
 of elephant poaching throughout the Continent.

 I will not take much of your time: figures only.

 Here at home  in Ol ari Nyiro, Laikipia Nature Conservancy,

 In 2007 we lost 6 elephants;
 In 2008 28 elephants;
 In 2009 57 elephants- And 3 black Rhino, to Poachers.
  For 33 of them the tusks  were gone. For the rest  our rangers managed to get there first, only to find a just dead elephant. Some were  just calves shot at random in the herd; some died of  hunger and
 dehydration next to their dead mother. Some were rescued, but were too  tiny  and weak to survive.
 ……………… So that in some remote  eastern countries trinkets may be made,  objects of negligible artistic value and considerable kitch,  dubious  medicine or dagger handles, whose only appeal- a status symbol?_ is the rarity of the material they are made of.
And no relation  from those shop windows,  no concern from the uneducated buyers, about the desperate agonies and horrors and dangers those stupid, useless objects  have caused in the African bush.

 LETS PUT THIS DOWN TO RECORD my friends-and it is bit tough not to be emotional:
 Ivory and rhino horn trade is unecessary, immoral, unethical,
 unacceptable : it is CRIMINAL.

 THERE IS NO EXCUSE at this present time, when we know the importance of the biodiversity and the fragility of the web of life, when we  witness the threath to the environment,  and climate change, when we know about the importance of trees and wildlife. The thousands of trees that sprout from elephants dung having been
scorched through the digestive systeme of the elephant are a priceless legacy.  Welcome to come and check here the elephants’ induced regeneration of Acacia Geradiae trees.There is no question that long term re-forestation by elephant is actually a fact.
 So, what can you do to help?A lot.

 Tell all YOUR FRIENDS, start a web page, put it in your blog, CREATE AWARENESS of whats going on.  Help to create such STIGMA  around the trade  that CITES will not succumb to the demand. That Eastern Countries  buying the products will be shamed.

 Boycott ivory sales and who promotes them.

 Protest. Campaign.

 Help support the anti-poaching efforts.

 Support Kenya: Despite  the many problems, this is one things we do right here.This IS one thing we can be proud of.
Support Kenya stand against all ivory and wildlife  product sales now AND in  future. Choose Kenya-an ethical destination- for your travels.”

For complete article and more information visit:



Council Working Group meeting Brussels, 12th January 2010, to prepare the EU position for CITES COP15 meeting
Doha, 13-25th March 2010

No resumption of the African elephant ivory trade !

Two Southern African countries – Zambia and Tanzania – have presented proposals for consideration to the CITES COP 15 meeting, seeking the resumption of trade in elephant ivory. The governments of these countries propose to move (what they see as) “their” local populations of African elephant from Appendix I of the CITES Convention (which prohibits all trade in a particular species) to Appendix II (allows limited trade).

Evidence shows that any resumption of legal trade coincides with an increase in illegal trade, stimulating huge demand for ivory, thereby resulting in an increase in poaching. (Please see attached two page document in Annex for more information.)


CITES Ivory Wars: What is in the Proposals?  Recent news coverage

More from  Kenya Wildlife Service

Article and photos at:

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