Zim lobbies EU for sale of $600 million worth of Ivory
Zimbabwe has pleaded with European Union (EU) to lobby the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) to allow a once off sale of $600 million worth of ivory in its stockpiles.
The country’s previous attempts to engage Cites to sell 130 tonnes of ivory stocked in a warehouse in Harare have hit a snag as the stockpile continues to grow.
Authorities, on Monday said 67 tonnes of valuable rhino horn are also in stock, waiting to be sold on the world market when Cites open sales.
Zimparks director general, Fulton Mangwanya said Zimbabwe is being punished for good conservation.
“They look at us and what they see is Zimbabwe being punished for achieving such a milestone in elephant conservation. Instead of getting a pat on the back and a carrot, we seldom receive support. For the resources we are managing well, we always receive a stick,” Mangwanya told ambassadors during a tour of the stockpiles.
Mangwanya pleaded with EU ambassadors:“We don’t see anything wrong with another once off sale. Conservation is an expensive venture. We kindly ask for the support of Eu for Zimbabwe to be allowed a once off sale of our national ivory stock,” he said.
He accused Cites of maintaining a hardliner stance towards Zimbabwe, adding that conservation had been affected by lack of resources.
“After every Cites meeting, we have bruises to nurse and a mammoth task of having to support local communities in conservation,” Mangwanya said.
Next week Zimbabwe will hold an Elephant Summit in Hwange to lobby for lift on the ban of elephant and ivory sales.
The country has nearly 100 000 elephants, the second largest in the world, while its carrying capacity remains at 55 000.
This has led to unprecedented human, wildlife conflict where over 60 people have been killed by elephants this year.
Zimbabwe has in the past threatened to pull out of Cites if it maintains the ban.
“We feel betrayed after adhering to conditions in relation to the annotation to the listing of all elephant population. Without an ivory market we will end up not recovering ivory from natural attrition in protected areas.”
“We have a stockpile that we cannot derive value from or plough back into the community for conservation of the same species and it is quite a great pain for us. If we can unlock the value of the stockpiles all proceeds will go towards the national elephant management plan,” Mangwanya said.
CITES banned international trade in ivory in 1989. However, there are still some thriving but unregulated domestic ivory markets in several countries, which fuel an illegal international trade
The African elephant is on Appendix 1 and down listing it to Appendix 2 would allow culling to reduce the population. This is what authorities in Harare have been pushing for.