Sale Of Wild African Elephants To Be Restricted 

Posted on December 12th 2019

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Many states have reached an agreement that would limit the sale of wild elephants captured in Zimbabwe and Botswana. The practice is highly controversial and whilst the resolution has delighted conservationists, the African countries involved are not impressed. Wildlife experts say the vote taken in Geneva on trade in endangered species known as CITES is momentous for the species because sale of elephants to zoos has now been restricted. 

Zoos can no longer import 

The EU has changed the language of the resolution slightly to achieve a compromise that would still limit the export of elephants out of Africa with some Europe related exceptions. For example, an Elephant in France could be sent to Germany without the need for it to first be sent back to Africa. The new regulations mean that zoos will be prevented from importing wild elephants captured in Africa, with the US voting against the resolution. 

Some conservationists say it’s not enough 

Whilst animal rights activists applauded the decision, some felt the resolution did not go far enough. They say whilst the language forces greater oversight and scrutiny, it stops short of being an outright ban on the trade in wild elephants. The practice of capturing wild elephants in Africa and then exporting them to zoos is very traumatising for the animals as well the social groups they are taken from advocates say. 

Countries say they are being denied cash 

Many celebrities lent their signature to a letter addressed to EU president Juncker; however African officials were less than impressed. They say the proposal denies them a much-needed source of cash and they should be free to do as they please with their elephants. They argue their governments have been spending lots of money to fund conservation efforts and do not see any real return on those investments which could be used to fund social programmes. They see their animals as an economic opportunity which means having the ability to sell elephants. 

Other countries and NGOs setting agendas 

The governments of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and other countries in Southern Africa say they will meet to consult in the aftermath of the CITES vote. Officials say they cannot be constrained and dictated to regarding how they should use their resources.  They argue that they cannot continue to allow more powerful countries and NGO’s to set the agenda over resources they consider their own. Some officials even dispute there is even a conservation concern and argue that if they have resources why should their populations be impoverished. 


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