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Ivory sales get the go-ahead
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Geneva, 16 July 2008 – Today, the CITES Standing Committee
(which oversees the implementation of CITES between the major
conferences) has given the go-ahead to the one-off sale of ivory
that was agreed in principle in June 2007. Botswana, Namibia,
South Africa and Zimbabwe are now authorized to make a single
sale of a total of 108 tons of government-owned ivory. The following
quantities of raw ivory have been approved: Botswana: 43,682.91
kg, Namibia: 9,209.68 kg, South Africa: 51,121.8 kg, and Zimbabwe:
The Committee also agreed to designate China as an importing
country. Japan had already been allowed to import ivory in 2006.
Both countries stated that they would closely monitor their domestic
All the proceeds of the sale are to be used exclusively for elephant
conservation and local communities living side-by-side with elephants.
Secretariat will closely supervise this sale and evaluate its
impact on elephant population levels throughout Africa. We will
continue monitoring the Chinese and Japanese domestic trade controls
to ensure that unscrupulous traders do not take this opportunity
to launder ivory from illegal origin", said the Secretary-General
of the Convention, Mr Willem Wijnstekers.
CITES banned the international commercial ivory trade in 1989.
In 1997, recognizing that some southern African elephant populations
were healthy and well managed, it permitted Botswana, Namibia
and Zimbabwe to make a one-time sale of ivory to Japan totalling
50 tons. This sale took place in 1999 and raised some USD 5 million
for elephant conservation.
Legal sales of ivory derive from existing stocks gathered from
elephants that have died as a result of natural causes or from
problem-animal control. Today the elephant populations of southern
Africa are listed in Appendix II of the Convention (which allows
commercial trade through a permit system), while all other elephant
populations are listed in Appendix I (which prohibits all imports
for commercial purposes).
Note to journalistes: For more information,
contact Juan Carlos Vasquez at +41 22 917 81 56 or +41 79 378
65 40 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Official documents
and other information of the 57th meeting of the Standing Committee
– The list of members of
the Standing Committee
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