African Nations sign Bamako Declaration to Save remaining Elephants

Thursday, February 7, 2008
Bamako, Mali
Representatives from 17 African states signed a monumental document, the Bamako Elephant Declaration, after holding discussions in Mali for the last two days.
The African elephant range states included Mali, Niger, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Cameroun, Ivory Coast, Togo, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Southern Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. Mali and Kenya Governments hosted the meeting,
 
The Minister of Environment for Mali, Agatham AG Alhassan, expressed his support of such an accord, stating, “With very limited human and financial resources, we are facing not only climate change challenges but also cruel methods used by poachers to slaughter elephants and their habitats which have been considered safe havens in the past.”
 
This meeting symbolized the formal unification of the aforementioned nations on the fronts of both elephant conservation and anti-ivory trade. Representatives from these countries have been working closely for many years on such issues, and are now strengthening their presence with this formalization.
 
“This is a meaningful accomplishment for African elephant range states,” says Patrick Omondi, Kenya Wildlife Service Head of Species. “Not only are we taking a stand against the slaughter of our endangered elephants, but we are joining together to discuss the importance of strong elephant conservation and management strategies, which are essential in maintaining viable elephant populations, and in effect, promoting tourism.
 
“It is gratifying that like-minded countries have agreed on a mechanism to implement the decisions made at the 14th Conference of Parties of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) in regards to international trade of ivory particularly  in regards to the development of an African Elephant Action Plan on the conservation of elephants,” states Omondi.
 
Kevin Shields, Director of the Wildlife and Habitat Program at IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) which facilitated the meeting commended the delegates for their achievements. “Your passion, commitment, and faith have borne fruit in the past, and as recently as last June. And, today, you have started the journey to actively save these great species. It is an arduous journey, but it can be done. It might be the only opportunity to give hope and a future for elephants and their habitats.

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