Today CITES countries decided against proposals from Namibia and Zimbabwe to open legal ivory trade from their countries. In response, WWF issued the following statement from Ginette Hemley, head of delegation to CITES CoP17:
“The decision to maintain the existing ban on international ivory trade was the right one for elephants.
“African elephants are in steep decline across much of the continent due to poaching for their ivory, and opening up any legal trade in ivory would complicate efforts to conserve them. It could offer criminal syndicates new avenues to launder poached ivory, undermining law enforcement, and would undercut efforts to reduce the consumer demand that is driving the mass poaching.
“Countries here at CITES rightly chose to prioritize closing domestic ivory markets and strengthening national plans to combat illegal ivory trade as the best way forward to save elephants.
“It is imperative that countries now turn these decisions into strong action. Otherwise, the future of one of the world’s most iconic animals will fall further into doubt.”