Zimbabwe to defend trade in elephants


Paidamoyo Muzulu, Newsday

Date Published


Environment, Water and Climate minister Oppah Muchinguri has said Zimbabwe will defend its right to trade in elephant products at the 17th conference of parties (Cop 17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), which opens in Johannesburg, South Africa, tomorrow.

Muchinguri made the remarks yesterday just before her departure for the conference, where some countries are seeking an outright ban on elephant products or live wildlife.

“As Zimbabwe, we want to continue trading in elephants and elephant products, such as hides, raw ivory and ivory carvings and all other wildlife products for the benefit of our citizens,” she said.

Muchinguri said the Zimbabwean delegation would, among other issues, push Cop 17 to adopt a decision-making mechanism for a process of future trade in elephant ivory and establishment of a permanent rural communities committee to give an advisory role to representatives of legally recognised organisations of rural communities on issues pertaining to wildlife conservation.

Muchinguri said the issues had the support of regional countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia.

Zimbabwe took one of the largest delegations to a Cites conference, saying despite the economic challenges, it needed all its human resources to put its case to the conference.

“We considered areas of expertise, such as wildlife research and management, policy and legislation, law enforcement and intelligence and community-based natural resources management. The size of the delegation was also influenced by the number of side meetings that occur simultaneously, where Zimbabwe needs to be represented,” Muchinguri said, without mentioning the actual size of the delegation.