Among hundreds of delegates, NGOs, and other representatives attending the Conference of the Parties, as the CITES conference is called, there has been growing sentiment that elephants are about to get better protection.
Last week, following strong statements by Burkina Faso, Kenya, Republic of Congo, and Chad, delegates agreed to throw out a recommendation by Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe to adopt a mechanism for a future trade in ivory.And after the majority of nations attending the International Union for the Conservation of Nature meeting in Honolulu last month called for the closure of domestic ivory markets, a CITES working group guided largely by the Chinese delegation unanimously agreed to commit nations with legal domestic markets to shut them down.
“Domestic markets are now firmly en route to closure, to which we must commend China above all who in my opinion made the decision politically feasible,” said Robert Hepworth after the working group meeting, which he attended.
About 20,000 elephants in Botswana have been killed for their tusks during the past five years, PHOTOGRAPH BY FRANS LANTING, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE
In his statement, minister Khama also praised the African countries that submitted the total ban proposal, as well as consumer countries such as China, Sri Lanka, France, and the United States for supporting it. Botswana, he said, “appreciates the commitment to adopt measures in closing down their legal domestic markets.”
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