African countries want a common position in the elephant and ivory trade

African countries, from Senegal to Botswana, will seek to establish a continent-wide position on the trade in live elephants and ivory, in an effort to address restrictions imposed by the UN Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES.

Opponents of population control from Western conservationists have seen their numbers explode in some areas, causing environmental damage and attacks on farmers, according to some African governments. The issue will be discussed at a meeting of environment and tourism ministers from 14 countries in Zimbabwe from May 23 to 26. The two main markets for elephant products, Japan and China, will also be represented by their ambassadors to Zimbabwe.

Although the overall population of African elephants has declined, poaching is rampant in many areas, with their numbers increasing in Zimbabwe and neighboring Botswana. Together with other South African countries, they have demanded the right to ease restrictions on their ivory and ivory stocks and to please them.

“We want to make sure that when we talk about elephant conservation, we build consensus among African countries,” said Tinash Pharaoh, head of communications for Zimbabwe Park and Wildlife Management, in an interview. “This is especially true before CoP 19 in Panama,” he said, referring to the next CITES meeting in November.

The meeting of African ministers will be held at the edge of the Cavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area in Hwang, Zimbabwe’s northwestern national park – an area larger than Spain, spread over five countries and home to more than half of the world’s African elephants. While it may be difficult to reach a consensus, invited Kenyans have repeatedly called for a complete ban on elephant trade.

Although the World Wildlife Fund estimates that there are only 415,000 African elephants, compared to 10 million in 1930, their population is growing rapidly in South Africa, which has 293,000 animals.

Most African elephants are currently included in Appendix I of CITES, which limits the trade in all animal products. Elephant populations in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa are included in Appendix II, which is less restricted, but a special note indicates that their ivory cannot be traded.

Zimbabwe estimates that its ivory reserves alone are worth $ 500 million.

Zimbabwe’s Deputy Tourism Minister Barbara Rodzi said on Twitter, “We have other regions outside Africa who are fighting that elephants should be in Appendix 1, where there will be no trade in elephants.

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