Vote goes against trade for Tanzanian ivory

Monday, March 22, 2010
(Doha, Qatar – 22 March 2010) – Parties voted to continue protection for Tanzanian elephants by retaining their listing on Appendix I, and rejecting a request for a one-off ivory sale today at the 15th Conference of the Parties (CoP 15) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting in Doha.

“Fighting to save these elephants paid off today with Parties taking note of the science demonstrating that Tanzanian elephants are still in peril,” said Jason Bell-Leask, Director of IFAW Southern Africa.

“Poaching of elephants and ivory seizures are escalating not decreasing – this decision is a victory for common sense.”

Tanzania and Zambia have submitted proposals seeking permission for a one-off sale of 112 tonnes of ivory. These two countries hoped to open the door for future ivory trade by ‘down-listing’ their elephant populations, which would mean that these elephants would lose the highest levels of protection.

“The same logic that Parties applied to the Tanzanian proposal must apply to the Zambian proposal – down-listing and ivory sales must be rejected,” said Bell-Leask.

At the last CITES conference in 2007, Parties agreed to a nine-year moratorium on any further trade in ivory.

The African Elephant Coalition of 23 African elephant range countries oppose the proposals for the downlistings and one-off sales, insisting that the nine-year resting period provides all African range states the opportunity to cooperatively secure elephants in their habitat.

The Tanzanian proposal was split with Parties voting separately on the one-off sale and the downlisting. The results were:
Downlisting – support 57, oppose 45, abstain 32
One-off sale – support 59, oppose 60, abstain 13

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