TANZANIA LISTED ALONGSIDE CHINA, VIETNAM AND THAILAND FOR IVORY SANCTIONS
It was learned overnight through communications from sources attending the CITES Conference in Bangkok / Thailand that the global anger and outrage over the steady flow of blood ivory from Africa to Asia is now finally turning into some action, as CITES has threatened China, Vietnam, Thailand and Tanzania, among others, to either pull up their socks in the fight against the criminal trade or else face a ban from trading as part of an extensive sanctions regime which would come into force in a year if no improvements are seen.
The countries named will have to produce, on the fast track, a new management plan how they intend to combat poaching and smuggling and if targets set by March next year are not met face major sanctions.
Tanzania’s own parliament last year received an undisputed report that nearly 30 elephant a day were killed in the country, largely in the little guarded Selous and Ruaha, though later reports seen earlier this year put the figure substantially higher.
Poaching of elephant for their ivory has in 2012 reached a new all time high, as did incidentally also the poaching of rhinos, especially in Southern Africa where well over 600 rhinos were killed last year for their horn, then sold at prices dearer than gold to make aphrodisiacs inspite of the zero medicinal value of the horn’s contents.
Tanzania had in a change of heart withdrawn the application to sell about 100 tons of so called legal ivory, something the disgraced former tourism minister Ezekiel Maige had stubbornly insisted on bringing Tanzania’s conservation efforts to global disrepute at the time. It is understood that the turnabout was initiated by current tourism minister Amb. Khamis Kagesheki, who is generally seen as more enlightened and open to logical argument compared to his hapless predecessor and who upon realizing the scale of the slaughter of elephant in Tanzania raised the alarm himself. Sackings and demotions at the Wildlife Department of his ministry also made way for new more dedicated officials, lending credibility to the minister’s pledge to combat poaching and ending the menace.
Watch this space for more information coming from the CITES meetings or else visit www.cites.org