Kenya’s bid to close domestic ivory markets gets backing


Gilbert Koech, The Star

Date Published

Kenya’s bid to have domestic ivory markets closed has received backing from world governments.

This comes weeks to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

More than 10,000 participants from 192 countries on Saturday voted to have domestic markets closed. This is after a fierce debate following opposition from Namibia and Japan.

Kenya puts her case of banning ivory during the 17th CITES meeting from September 24 to October 5 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Kenya wants African elephants listed in CITES Appendix I, which has generated a heated debate among several African countries opposed to the proposal.

In a document on July 1, the European Union opposed the proposals to protect elephants, causing a major spat with NGOs.

Under the proposal, all African elephant populations and their range states will be unified under Appendix I, ending split-listing.

The elephant population in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe is in Appendix II, meaning the countries can trade in ivory with permission from CITES.

Kenya has submitted 14 proposals on the African elephant, African pangolins, snakes species endemic to Kenya, the Thresher shark, chameleon species, plant species and others on measures to combat illegal wildlife trafficking.

During the International Union for Conservation of Nature Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii, experts expressed concerns that the domestic markets could be creating opportunities for selling illegal ivory.

International Union for Conservation of Nature director general Inger Andersen said urgent action is needed to ensure the long-term survival of life on earth.

She said the congress comes at a “pivotal” time when the planet’s history is at a crossroads.