By GILBERT KOECH – The Star
Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa wanted to be allowed to sell their ivory stockpiles.
• At least 20,000 elephants are killed each year in Africa for their ivory
• Kenya ensured that the request by the four African countries never saw the light of the day.
Kenya has thwarted plans by four African countries to allow the sale of ivory.
On Thursday, Kenya rallied the rest of Africa to vote against allowing countries with stocks of ivory to sell them.
Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa wanted to be allowed to sell their ivory stockpiles.At least 20,000 elephants are killed annually in Africa for their ivory. This translates into 55 elephants killed daily or one elephant killed every 26 minutes.
With a population of 35,000 elephants, the Kenyan delegation at the ongoing Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in Geneva could not sit pretty.
Nairobi was acting on behalf of the 32-member state of the African Elephant Coalition. Kenya ensured that the request by the four African countries never saw the light of the day.
Zimbabwe had argued the local communities were suffering as they no longer earned a living from elephants. The request was thrown out.
Botswana’s appeal to be given the go-ahead to sell its ivory stockpiles was also rejected.
The African Elephant Coalition is a consortium of 32 countries interested in ensuring that there is a healthy and viable elephant population.
Members include Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea and Ethiopia.
The others are Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea (Conakry), Guinea-Bissau, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Togo and Uganda.
Kenya also pushed to ensure that trade in giraffe is regulated for the first time. Even though parties didn’t agree on proposed amendments to close all domestic ivory markets, they concurred that a draft decision urging parties that haven’t closed ivory markets to report on measures to ensure they do not contribute to poaching and illegal trade.
The parties to CITES took issue with countries which still host domestic ivory markets. Further, they insisted that compliance measures for countries with stockpiles need to be strengthened.
The country wanted all legal ivory markets shut – whether in Asia or Europe or anywhere else in the world – fuel illegal trade, poaching and killing of elephants.
On April 30, 2016, Kenya set ablaze 105 tonnes of elephant ivory and 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn to smouldering ash.
President Uhuru Kenyatta led world leaders and conservationists in burning the remains of 6,500 elephants and 450 rhinos killed for their tusks and horns. “For us, ivory is worthless unless it is on our elephants,” Uhuru said.