About the Ivory
From Bloody Ivory.org
In 1979 there were an estimated 1.3 million African elephants. A decade later, widespread poaching had reduced that figure by half. Just 600,000 African elephants remained.
Africa’s savannahs and forests were no longer sanctuaries for elephants; they had been turned into graveyards.
In 1989, a worldwide ban on ivory trade was approved by CITES. Levels of poaching fell dramatically, and black market prices of ivory slumped.
CITES had saved the African elephant. Or had it?
Since 1997, there have been sustained attempts by certain countries to overturn the ban. In 1999, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe were allowed an ‘experimental one-off sale’ of over 49,000kg of ivory to Japan. Then in 2002, a further one off-sale was approved, which finally took place in 2008 – and resulted in 105,000kg of ivory being shipped to China and Japan.
Today, levels of poaching and illegal trade are spiralling out of control once again. In many areas, rates of poaching are now the worst they have been since 1989. In 2009, over 20,000kg of ivory was seized by police and customs authorities worldwide and in 2011, just thirteen of the largest seizures amounted to over 23,000kg. Countries continue to report localised extinctions of small vulnerable elephant populations and a number of range States (countries which have elephants) are edging closer to losing all their remaining elephants.
Despite this, at CITES’ Fifteenth Conference of the Parties in March 2010, Tanzania and Zambia tried to reduce the level of protection their elephants are afforded and also sought approval for a one-off sale of over 110,000kg of ivory to China and Japan. Although their Proposals were in direct contravention of the spirit a nine-year moratorium on ivory trade, agreed by all range States in 2007, the final wording of that moratorium unfortunately had a loophole which Tanzania and Zambia tried to exploit.
Many feared that if approved, the ivory sale would again increase demand for ivory in the Far East and endanger the future survival of many of Africa’s more fragile elephant populations that simply could not withstand any more poaching pressure.
Due to the hard work of many, including the African Elephant Coalition (formed of 23 African elephant range States), CITES rejected both Tanzania’s and Zambia’s Proposals.
Once again, at CITES’ Sixteenth Conference of the Parties in March next year, Tanzania is seeking approval to sell ivory – over 101,000kg of it. This despite losing almost a quarter of it’s elephant population between 2006 and 2009 and authorities seizing 19,800kg of ivory originating in or exported from Tanzania between 2009 and 2011. Once again elephants need your help.
Bloody Ivory.org is intended to be a central portal of information about ivory trade, elephant poaching and the impact of CITES on Africa’s elephants. It provides you with a voice to join in the battle to protect elephants, who still need your support to stop the trade in their ivory.