Sale of elephant ivory to Japan approved
June 3, 2007
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) approved the sale of 60 tons of elephant ivory to Japan prior to the start of a 12-day wildlife conference in The Hague, Netherlands.
The agency, which oversees the trade in wildlife products, said that South Africa, Botswana and Namibia can sell ivory from stocks gathered from elephants that have died naturally. The proceeds will go to a conservation fund.
Trade in elephant ivory has been banned since 1989. Some environmentalists fear that the new exception will give new life to elephant poaching, which has climbed to new records in the past two years due to surging demand from China according to a February Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper.
Photo by Rhett A. Butler
The Associated Press reports that the sale was initially approved in 2002 but was held up until a monitoring system was developed.
Other countries that have experienced a rebound in elephant populations are looking to resume limited elephant culling for the ivory trade. The proposals will be discussed at the upcoming meeting.