There is a huge stockpile of ivory held by some countries in southern africa. They want the ban to be relaxed so that they can sell off the items and generate funds to undertake activities for the benefit of society. The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) put the subject to a vote at an international wildlife conference and it was defeated. It reveals the deep divide between African nations on the subject of conservation of elephants.

The Guardian says an average of 50 elephants lose their lives to poachers on a daily basis. They kill the animals for their tusks and the huge beasts need protection from ivory traffickers who would do anything to lay their hands on ivory. The consensus is to continue with the ban but Southern African nations feel differently. They have large numbers of elephants and want legalization of the sale of ivory.

Their argument is that the funds would go towards conservation and community development. However, the majority of other African nations want an end to the trade in elephants. Same goes for trophy hunting which has legal approval in some places.

Proposal to lift ban defeated

It was a 183-nation summit of the CITES and topic of the debate was lifting the ban on the sale of ivory.

Botswana wanted to get approval for the sale of a huge stockpile of ivory. It said - “Africa is not one country, and our wildlife approaches will never be the same.” The country wants a relaxation of the global ban on ivory sales. Zimbabwe also followed Botswana and mentioned about loss of revenue from elephants. It was affecting the local communities because the children walk barefoot and do not have facilities of schools or hospitals.

The Guardian goes on to say that Mali opposed the lifting of the ban on the sale of ivory. Its delegate said - “It would unleash an absolute disaster.” Kenya added that there were one-off sales twice - in 1997 and 2008.

Those experiments failed because incidents of poaching increased afterward. Gabon wanted an end to all forms of international trade in elephants. Botswana vehemently opposed this as did South Africa.

Legal markets for ivory are few

According to DW, as things stand today, the UK and the US have shut down their domestic markets. China used to be a lucrative market but it stopped its trade in 2017. Singapore has also followed suit and Japan is now the world's biggest market for this product.

Conservationists who fought for continuation of the ban on ivory are celebrating their win to save the African elephant. The summit on endangered wildlife has voted down proposals to allow one-off sales of stockpiles. Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Botswana wanted to sell off their stockpiles. Zimbabwe has $300 million worth of ivory. Kenya opposed the motion to lift the ban and received the backing of the African Elephant Coalition (AEC). This was because one-off sales would increase the demand for ivory. That has happened in the past.

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