The Conference of the Parties for the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES CoP17) began in earnest in a colourful and highly participatory opening ceremony on Saturday 24th September. To the beat of the djembe, the Save the Elephants CITES team joined all the participants to drum our support for the protection of species around the world from the cryptic pangolin to the massive wood bison.
This CITES is particularly important for elephants as there are several opposing proposals on the table for them. Chief among them for us a proposal urging all parties to close domestic ivory markets around the world. While CITES cannot compel any nation to do anything within its borders, there is a groundswell of support beginning in China and the US last year, that they would close their domestic markets for ivory.
Still opposition has existed at every stage. Our Save the Elephants exhibition stand is positioned right opposite a pro-trade rhino group, just going to show the grim realities we face about opinions on how to solve this poaching crisis.
On Monday, Save the Elephants joined many parties in expressing concern that the MIKE Program has found no evidence that levels of elephant poaching increased or decreased as a direct result of CITES decisions concerning the trade in elephant ivory made at other CoPs. Many countries
The fate of African elephants rests squarely in the hands of the decisions made here to further species protection, and all the circumstances within which they live.