In response to the CITES committee decision to reject all listing proposals to change protections for African elephants, WWF issued a statement from Paul De Ornellas, Senior Policy Advisor:
“The existing ban on international elephant ivory trade that applies to all countries remains intact.
“While the southern Africa countries in question have demonstrated success in protecting and managing their elephant populations and ivory stockpiles, there is no evidence that any potential benefit of legal ivory trade would justify the potential risks at this time.
“At the same time, any change to a CITES status listing would have opened a 90-day window for countries to submit reservations and exempt themselves from currently binding restrictions. In the event of an uplisting to Appendix I, there is reason to believe some countries would take this step, and could start trading ivory internationally again.
“Ultimately, none of these proposals would have offered elephant populations any greater protection from poachers. On the contrary, they would have presented new potential threats for populations already in decline. It is vital that the international community continues to focus efforts to address the key issues around the poaching and trafficking of ivory, namely countries adhering to national plans to address their role in the illegal ivory trade, including the closure of domestic ivory markets.”