Saturday, February 22, 2014

Botswana breaks ranks with neighbours over ivory sales

Botswana has broken ranks with the neighbouring elephant range states of Southern Africa by signing a 10-year moratorium on the sales of its stockpiled ivory. President Ian Khama took the decision at the recent symposium on the illegal wildlife trade held in London.Khama said he will order the country’s ivory stockpiles out of reach of the markets.  Botswana has the highest population of African elephants currently estimated at 207,000 and more than 90% of which are concentrated in Ngamiland and Chobe.

Until then Botswana and her neighbours of South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe had been exercising their option to sell from their ivory stockpiles to approved countries.The trade of ivory has been banned under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) since 1989, but some countries have received permission from the same body to sell their ivory stocks in the past.The preceedes from these CITES-approved sales were being used to fund conservation efforts, specifically within the elephant range regions.  Botswana’s neighbours were conspicious by their absence from the London event. Instead, Botswana joined Gabon, Chad and Tanzania as the only African countries, in announcing the 10-year moratorium, which effectively confirms they will uphold the ban and not ask for permission from CITES to sell any of their ivory.

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