No Ivory Sales- for Now

Humane Society International supports a decision made at a United Nations treaty meeting in Geneva not to allow the international sale of 60 metric tons of African elephant ivory from South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. The group, however, is disappointed by a related decision to approve Japan as a trading partner that will be allowed to import the ivory if the sale is eventually approved. China also bid to buy the ivory, but was not approved as a trading partner.

The Standing Committee of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) agreed that the "Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants," or MIKE, project currently operated under U.N. auspices has failed to produce complete, acceptable baseline data to allow the sale to go forward.

"Certainly no sale should take place now, and we are pleased the Standing Committee stopped short of approving one. By deferring matters only until June, however, it has sent out a mixed message," said Ronald Orenstein, PhD, LL.B., HSI's representative at the Geneva meeting. "Uncontrolled illegal ivory trade and elephant poaching persist in both Africa and Asia. History has shown that adding legal ivory to the market without airtight safeguards and accurate, close monitoring of elephant populations will only fuel more illegal trade. "By approving Japan as a trading partner without all needed safeguards in place, the committee may be opening the door to future sales

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