Say NO to the Ivory Trade

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Say NO to the Ivory Trade

Photo Ofir Drori - LAGAIllegal ivory seized in Cameroon

In 1979 there were an estimated 1.3 million African elephants. A decade later, widespread poaching had reduced that figure by half. Just 600,000 African elephants remained.

Africa’s savannahs and forests were no longer sanctuaries for elephants; they had been turned into graveyards.

In 1989, a worldwide ban on ivory trade was approved by CITES. Levels of poaching fell dramatically, and black-market prices of ivory slumped.

CITES had saved the African elephant. Or had it?

Since 1997, there have been sustained attempts by certain countries to overturn the ban. In 1999, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe were allowed an ‘experimental one-off sale’ of 49,437kg of ivory to Japan. Then in 2002, a further one off-sale was approved, which finally took place in 2008 – and resulted in 105,000kg of ivory being shipped to China and Japan.

Today, levels of poaching and illegal trade are spiralling out of control once again. In many areas, rates of poaching are now the worst they have been since 1989. In 2009, over 20,000kg of ivory was seized and countries have started to report localised extinctions of very vulnerable elephant populations.

Despite this, in March 2010, Tanzania and Zambia tried to reduce the level of protection their elephants are afforded by CITES (by downlisting their elephant populations from Appendix I, which bans commercial trade, to Appendix II, which allows regulated trade subject to certain conditions). They also sought approval for a one-off sale of over 110,000kg of ivory.

The Tanzania and Zambia Proposals were in direct contravention of the spirit a nine-year moratorium on ivory trade, agreed by all range States in 2007.  The final wording of that moratorium unfortunately had a loophole which Tanzania and Zambia tried to exploit.

Had these proposals been approved, many feared for the future survival of many of Africa’s more fragile elephant populations that simply could not withstand any more poaching pressure. For Sierra Leone’s elephants it may already be too late – the Government of Sierra Leone announced at the end of 2009 that it feared its last few elephants had been lost to poachers.

The African Elephant Coalition is formed of 23-African elephant range States (the majority of countries with wild African elephants) who strongly opposed the Tanzanian and Zambian Proposals. They instead called on the international community to support a proposal by Ghana, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Mali, Kenya, Liberia and Sierra Leone to close the loophole in the moratorium, and extend it to twenty years. They believed that only resolute action of this kind could increase the security for Africa’s beleaguered elephants.

This website is intended to be a central portal of information about ivory trade, elephant poaching and the impact of CITES decisions on Africa’s elephants.

It provides those without a voice to join in the battle to protect elephants across Africa. They still need your support. Don’t delay – take action today!

Click this link to sign petition:- Say NO to the Ivory Trade »

Helping a Species That Leaves Few Feeling Warm and Fuzzy

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BELIZE CITY, Belize — Among conservation biologists, Rachel Graham is sometimes called the aquatic Jane Goodall: She has developed new information about the lives of her research subjects and, like the famous primatologist, she has successfully deployed science to create a constituency for their preservation.

But Dr. Graham’s subjects lack the all-but-human charms of Dr. Goodall’s chimps. As the director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Gulf and Caribbean Sharks and Rays Program, Dr. Graham must overcome deeply held fears and prejudices in her efforts to outlaw fishing of various shark species, including the whale shark, a playful and friendly creature that migrates to the western Caribbean every spring. That species of shark is now protected off the coasts of Belize and Mexico, and last May Dr. Graham received the 2011 Gold Award and about $100,000 from the Whitley Fund for Nature in England for her work on its behalf.

Rachel Graham studying whale sharks off Nosy Be, Madagascar

We spoke for three hours at a hotel here, then later by telephone. A condensed and edited version of the two conversations follows.

You are a citizen of Belize. Did you grow up here?

No. I spent a large part of my childhood in Tunisia, that little tinderbox that last spring sparked so many changes in the world. I’m very excited to be from there. My British mother and American father were international vagabonds who met while teaching in Sierra Leone. We were this migratory family.

Wherever we lived, I was always bringing home creatures — lizards, snakes, scorpions. Perhaps because I was this blue-eyed tomboy in places where no one else was that, I identified with marginalized animal species. My mother tells the story of my coming home from school, complaining: “It’s so boring there. Nobody wants to talk about piranhas or sharks!”

To read more click here:- Rachel Graham Shark women

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