Kenya to pile pressure on nations opposed to the ban on ivory trade


Gilbert Koech, The Star

Date Published

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The state has shifted attention to countries that still enjoy thriving ivory trade, barely five days after China banned the trade.

Yesterday, PS State Department for Natural Resources, Dr Margaret Mwakima said she is optimistic others opposed to the ban will follow suit.

Mwakima said China’s decision is a major boost in the fight against ivory trafficking.

“This follows a petition by Kenya and 29 other African Elephant Coalition countries to 17th CITES Conference in Johannesburg,” she told the Star.

Mwakima said Kenya will not back down until the remaining markets have been shut.

“We will continue to call for total closure of all the remaining ivory markets particularly in Japan, EU and UK to help in this fight,” Mwakima said.

Kenya has been pushing for a total ban on ivory trade, warning that the trade risks wiping out elephants.

During the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, Kenya unsuccessfully sought to have global ban on trade imposed.

A total of 29 African Elephant Coalition countries had thrown weight behind Kenya.

However, Namibia and Zimbabwe petitioned CITES to exempt their elephants from the ivory trade ban,on grounds that their populations are thriving.

The two argued that proceeds from legal stocks of ivory would generate income to improve conservation and anti-poaching efforts.

The EU had opposed the ban. On December 31, China started shutting down its licensed ivory carving factories and retail market for rhino horn and elephant ivory.