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Govt: We are working on CITES terms for tusks sale

2nd January 2013
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CITES

The government has withdrawn its application to sell over 100 tonnes of ivory in order to get enough time to fulfill the conditions set by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to be allowed to sell the tusks.

According to a press statement availed to The Guardian by  the Ministry of  Natural Resources and Tourism the ministry has opted to postpone its  application which was submitted early October last year and was scheduled to be discussed in the 16th CITES conference to be held Bangkok, Thailand in March this year.

The conditions given by CITES include the country putting in place measures to control elephant poaching and restricting ivory which is passed through the country from neighbouring countries.

The government is also required to undertake another count of elephants in order to get the correct number of the animal in the country and improve the data base of ivory.

The statement noted that it was the intention of the country to sell its ivory stock in order to get funds to run the natural resource sector in the country. The application shall be submitted again to CITES after the fulfillment of the requirements and it shall be discussed in the next meeting.

According to the statement, if the request shall be approved, the tusks which shall be sold are those obtained from old elephants and those which died from natural causes and those of elephants killed for threatening the lives and properties of the people.

Early on November last year, the government decision to sell stockpiled ivory was challenged by people living around Selous Game Reserve in Coast Region, saying it would fuel the killing of elephants by poachers countrywide.

The people suggested that the government should instead impose a total ban on selling stockpiled ivory.

Speaking to The Guardian in interviews, some people said there had been increased killing of elephants since the government announced the decision to sell the ivory.
Elephant poaching levels are the worst in a decade and recorded ivory seizures at their highest since 1989, according to a report in June by CITES.

The same bid by Tanzania to get authorisation to sell 80.5 tonnes of ivory in the year 2010 was rejected by a CITES meeting held in Doha
Most nations that have signed up to CITES, including Tanzania's neighbour Kenya, opposed Tanzania's plan, fearing that it would boost poaching rather than empower Tanzania to crack down on it.
In the year 2007 CITES agreed to a nine-year moratorium on trade in ivory. The following year Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe were allowed to make a one-off sale of ivory to China and Japan.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN