29 countries urge EU, UK to ban ivory trade


Gilbert Koech & Bertha Lutome, The Star

Date Published

Twenty-nine African Elephant Coalition members have urged the European Union and the UK to permanently ban the external and domestic ivory trade.

This comes after China announced late last year it will end processing and trade in ivory and its products in three months from December.

It also aims to completely shut down the ivory trade by the end of this year, essentially closing the world’s largest market for poached ivory.

In a statement yesterday, the coalition welcomed China’s decision, saying it will help save the African elephant. “We welcome China’s decisive action to close its ivory market,” AEC chairman Patrick Omondi said.

“It is a major breakthrough in the battle to save elephants. But we need other countries with legal domestic markets to follow suit. We urge the EU to take advantage of the momentum created by China and shut down its trade in ivory once and for all.”

Omondi, deputy director species conservation and management at the Kenya Wildlife Service, urged other countries to follow in China’s footsteps.

AEC, whose member countries represent 70 per cent of African elephant range states, led efforts to reverse the poaching crisis facing African elephants at the 17th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The conference was in Johannesburg, South Africa, last September and October.

AEC members include Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Chad, Comoros, DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Liberia.

Other signatories are Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Togo and Uganda. Between 20,000 and 30,000 elephants are killed annually for their ivory.