Zambia Explains Policy Over Sale Of Ivory
MArch 19-25, 2010
The Zambian government requires about 10 million U.S dollars annually for conservation of elephants
LUSAKA (Xinhua) -- Zambia has made last minute appeals to other countries to understand the country’s bid to start trading in ivory as member countries of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) prepare to make a ruling on whether to allow the country embark on sale of ivory.
The southern African country has since appealed to the countries opposed to the idea of its bid to start trade in elephants, saying the country needs to control its elephant population.
Zambia and Tanzania have applied to down-list the African elephant population from appendix I to II at the on-going Qatar CITES conference but some countries and organization are opposed to the idea.
But Tourism and Natural Resources Minister Catherine Namugala told Xinhua on Wednesday morning that some countries opposed to the two countries’ proposal do not even have elephants.
"It is not true for our friends who get money from NGOs (non- governmental organization) from outside to believe that just because they can be funded by outsiders and they plough that money into conservation and that we are also going to give up our sovereignty and fail to make decisions that are good for our people," Namugala said.
Namugala appealed for support as the country makes its last minute effort to persuade CITES to down-list elephant trade, saying the international community should understand the country’s need to embark on elephant trade.
Kenya and other 23 African countries, with the support of the U.S. government and some European countries are reportedly opposed to Zambia and Tanzania’s proposal to sell the ivory, contending the one-off sale of ivory would heighten poaching that will lead to extinction of elephants.
But Namugala said the proposal to embark on elephant trading has been necessitated by the increase in elephant population which has resulted in human-animal conflicts and dismissed assertions the sale would increase poaching.
The Zambian government requires about 10 million U.S dollars annually for conservation of elephants.
Appendix I listing means that the species is threatened with extinction and no commercial activities or exploitation are allowed while appendix II allows for commercial utilization of elephants.
The elephant population was estimated at over 100, 000 from 27, 000 in the early 1980s.
Zambia has currently stockpile of 21.6 tons of ivory which could bring about 4 million dollars if the sale is allowed.
CITES members have been meeting since last Saturday and will on March 25 conclude their meeting when they would make a decision on whether or not to approve the proposal by Zambia and Tanzania to sell their ivory.
Article at: http://www.coastweek.com/xin190310-03.htm