tagged w/ CITES corruption
After denying protection to polar bears, sharks, and the Critically Endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has today voted against additional protections for harvested coral species, according to TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring group.
The joint US and EU measure would have put in place scientific and trade monitoring of over thirty species of red and pink coral in the Mediterranean and western Pacific.
The corals are harvested to make jewelry. But harvests of the coral have seen a significant decline: over 85% in thirty years. Marine conservations warn that the corals are too slow-growing to sustain such heavy collecting, since they require a hundred years to reach maturity.
Japan, which also led the movement to reject the ban on the Atlantic bluefin tuna trade, lobbied others to vote 'NO' against the monitoring. The country argued that deep water corals are not facing extinction and that monitoring would impact poor coastal fishing communities, especially in North African nations. The vote was done secretly.
"TRAFFIC and WWF are deeply disappointed with the decision not to list red and pink corals," said Ernie Cooper of TRAFFIC Canada. "Without the trade control measures this would have introduced, the current overharvesting of these precious corals will continue unabated."
It is estimated that 30 to 50 METRIC TONS of the corals are harvested EVERY YEAR. The United States is the world's largest purchaser of coral jewelry.
http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0321-hance_coraltrade.htmlAfter denying protection to polar bears, sharks, and the Critically Endangered... more
The 1st ivory auction in a decade sold over seven tons of tusks to Chinese and Japanese bidders Tuesday in Namibia, raising more than a million U.S. dollars for elephant conservation.
The sale took place under a special exemption to the international ban on trade in ivory.
Last year the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) ruled that Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe could make a one-time sale of 108 tons of government ivory stocks.
Some environmentalists have condemned the sales, fearing they will encourage smuggling and poaching of African elephants.
$1.3 Million Netted - Tuesday's auction, held behind closed doors in the capital, was monitored by Willem Wijnstekers, CITES secretary general. In all, 7.2 tons of ivory were sold, fetching a total of $1.3 million at an average price of $164 per kilogram (2.2 pounds).
The 2 Chinese and 2 Japanese buyers were not named.
Namibia had expected to sell over 9 tons of ivory. The remaining tusks will be distributed to communities involved in making traditional jewelry. (Related: "Illegal Ivory Trade Boosted by Angola Craft Markets, Conservationists Say" [October 27, 2006].)
Over 44 tons will be sold in Botswana on Friday. Auctions next month will see 51 tons being offered in South Africa and almost 4 tons being offered in Zimbabwe.
Illegal—With Exceptions - No new sales from the four southern African countries will be allowed for the next 9 years. Ivory trade was banned globally in 1989, but reviving elephant populations allowed African countries to make a one-time sale in 1999 to Japan, the only country that had previously won the right to import ivory.
In July, CITES said China should also be allowed to bid for ivory, as the country had dramatically improved its enforcement of ivory-trade rules. CITES said it will monitor Chinese and Japanese domestic trade controls to ensure traders do not use this opportunity to sell ivory of illegal origin.
(See "Elephants Decimated in Congo Park; China Demand Blamed" [August 29, 2008].)
Open Season on Elephants?
The auctions have prompted widespread protests by animal rights activists. (Related: "Ebay Bans Ivory Sales Amid Conservation Concerns" [October 21, 2008].)
"The elephant ivory trade is responsible for the slaughter of at least 20,000 elephants a year," Christina Pretorius of the International Fund for Animal Welfare said.
"Relaxing the current international ivory trade ban, such as these stockpile sales, will signal to poachers that it is open season on elephants and provide them means to launder their illegal ivory stocks," she said.
But CITES's Wijnstekers disputed this, "There is no proven scientific explanation that ivory sales lead to poaching," he said.
The 1st ivory auction in a decade sold over seven tons of tusks to Chinese and... more
(Cape Town, South Africa) - An elephant ivory auction totaling over 19,800 lb (9,000 kg) will begin tomorrow in Namibia. This is the first time in nearly 10 years that international trade in elephant ivory has been sanctioned by the UN-backed Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The sales will continue over the next two weeks in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa, with a grand total of 119 tons (108 tonnes) of ivory up for bidding. This accounts for an estimated 10,000+ dead elephants.
Both China and Japan have been approved as trading partners for this ivory and are known to be among the world’s largest illegal ivory markets. The International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW – www.ifaw.org) Elephants Program Director, and former director of Kenya Wildlife Service, Michael Wamithi, has responded to the sales, saying, “Allowing this exorbitant amount of ivory to flood the market, considering the level of elephant poaching occurring today, is just plain irresponsible.”
IFAW’s 2007 China ivory trade poll report highlighted the low awareness of the ivory control system and also citizens’ unwillingness to comply with this framework. According to the report, among the 14.5 per cent that were actually admitted consumers of ivory, 75.7 per cent would willingly violate the control system in order to obtain ivory at a cheaper price. Much evidence also exists that Japan’s domestic market is out of control.
“Rangers on the front lines in elephant range states continue to lose their lives protecting elephants from poaching,” continued Wamithi. “Developing countries continue to bear the brunt of burgeoning Asian markets. By permitting legal trade in ivory, we are only encouraging the laundering of stocks by poachers, thereby increasing illegal hunting activities. The situation is very clear: more ivory in the marketplace equals many more dead elephants – and rangers.”
(Cape Town, South Africa) - An elephant ivory auction totaling over 19,800 lb (9,000... more
HELP SAVE THE ELEPHANT - STOP THE BLOODY IVORY TRADE
Elephants. Condemned by CITES. Annihilated by poachers. Hacked to pieces for their ivory.
I write this with a heavy heart. A death knell has sounded for elephants. I was there as the bell tolled, but can scarcely believe it’s true.
Elephants – most intelligent, most sensitive of creatures – have been condemned to a bloody death. Other even more ominous sounds have quickly followed… The deafening crack of an automatic weapon; the mechanical drone of a chain-saw; the rhythmic chopping of an axe. The sickening sound of terrified elephants being brutally killed, then butchered for their tusks.
Unbelievably, ivory is big business once again. A savage new bloodbath is underway by ruthless poachers. The international ivory trade is supposed to be illegal. But China has been given the green light to purchase ‘stockpiled’ ivory. Make no mistake what this means. Poachers have been given the green light to slaughter more elephants
During a recent meeting in Geneva, the CITES¹ Standing Committee, including the UK, voted to allow China to buy ivory from four southern African nations - South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. China can now bid for 108 tonnes of stockpiled tusks.
It is just disastrous. China is the centre of the world’s illegal ivory trade. For example, 790kg of illegal ivory was seized in China earlier this year. Also, just one day after the Standing Committee’s ruling, three Chinese nationals were arrested in Kenya attempting to smuggle ivory. Carved ivory is a thriving business in China and hugely lucrative.
Japan had already been approved by CITES as a licensed buyer in 2006. Now China and Japan will bid against each other for this ‘legal’ ivory. I predict the price of the ivory will go sky-high, stimulating the already massive black market in illegal ivory. So more elephants will die. The incentive to kill elephants and smuggle ivory will be heightened still further.
This new decision is like pouring petrol on an open fire. It is naïve and deadly. Already more than 20,000 elephants are estimated to be illegally killed and dismembered every year by poachers. That’s 55 every day. That’s two every hour.
There were around one million elephants in 1979. Now that number has fallen to 475,000. Small, vulnerable elephant populations in West and Central African countries are most at risk. Large parts of Africa are running red with elephants’ blood.
Pause for a moment. Consider what this means. Elephants… immense, sentient, gentle creatures, who display awareness and understanding, with intricate social lives and complex culture passed through generations. Reduced to massive, bloody corpses for people’s greed.
HELP SAVE THE ELEPHANT - STOP THE BLOODY IVORY TRADE
Elephants. Condemned by CITES.... more
Stop the Slaughter!
Taita Ranch, Southern Kenya
Close to Tsavo East & Tsavo West National Parks
The elephant was female, aged about 27. She was 20 months pregnant. On 14th June 2008 poachers shot her with poisoned metal arrows and followed her as she stumbled miles through the African bush. After two days of agony she dropped. She tried to give birth to her calf before she died.
Wildlife rangers from the neighbouring Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary ambushed the poachers when they had just killed the female. They were in the process of butchering her and hacking off her face to remove her tusks. It is suspected these would have been smuggled to China. Two of the poachers were arrested and taken to Voi police station but two got away. Kenya Wildlife Service followed up the case and the two men were each sentenced to six years in prison.
“Just one dead elephant and her dead calf. Just one story. Sickening, grotesque, etched on your mind. The atrocious reality. Every day 55 elephants are killed and chopped apart by poachers. We can’t let this continue. Help us stop this. We want to help Rukinga Sanctuary’s brave rangers and support anti-poaching patrols across Africa.”
Chief Executive, Born Free Foundation
Caution: Disturbing Images
Born Free Foundation Stop the Slaughter!
Taita Ranch, Southern Kenya
Close to Tsavo East & Tsavo... more