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Southern African countries unhappy with world wildlife conference | Coastweek

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Southern African countries unhappy with world wildlife conference

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- Southern African countries on Wednesday expressed displeasure about the way they are being treated at the ongoing world wildlife conference in Johannesburg.

This came at a press conference jointly hosted by Southern African countries representatives, during the 17th Conference of Parties (CoP 17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Edna Molewa, South African Minister of Environmental Affairs, said Southern African countries are doing well in taking care of wildlife, the reason why they have the largest number of elephants in the world.

She said elephants and rhinos are close to the hearts of many South Africans. Molewa said Southern African countries know the sustainable way of preserving wildlife.

She said, "CITES should guard against just ban or closing domestic markets, it’s not the role of this body.

"They are responsible for international trade.

"We know what to do as responsible governments and we will continue to do that.

"We are not in crisis."

Molewa said countries should deal with the issue of poaching elsewhere and not at CITES.

She said it is not true that banning international trade will end poaching.

She said, "Southern African countries have regulations that do not impart on the survival of our species."

Pohamba Shifeta, Namibia Minister of Environment and Tourism, said the communities who are co-existing with elephants have made lots of sacrifices.

He said some have lost their lives, crops and some have surrendered their land for wildlife and need to be incentivized.

Shifeta said these communities need recognition and be given some benefits so that they will continue living with these elephants.

He said, "People are talking about up listing these elephants, I have a problem.

"They have to look at those who are doing well.

"We have an overpopulation of elephants."

Shifeta said they are willing to give these animals which are in abundance to other African countries if they have security and are able to take care of them.

He said some countries and organization are exporting global problem of poaching to their countries.

The Zimbabwe Minister of Environment Oppah Muchinguri said they have been having a series of meetings as Southern African countries before CoP 17 and they came up with a common position.

Muchinguri said they have been explaining their position at the CoP 17 to some who have misconception about their position.

She said, "It’s not easy to invest in conservation programs and address the needs of the community."

The Zambia Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, Stephen Mwansa also said other countries should get good practices from them.

He said other countries should not come and prescribe to them what to do with their wildlife because they are managing it well.

On Tuesday, the Conference of the Parties (COP) rejected the proposal by mostly Southern African countries to set up a panel to consider allowing ivory sales to resume at some point in the future.

South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe also proposed for the unbanning of international trade in ivory at CoP 17. Namibia has also failed to remove the annotation which would allow them to sell ivory.


CITES rejects Namibia’s proposal to ban discussion on regulating domestic ivory

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- An international panel on wildlife has voted against Namibia’s proposal to drop the discussion about the regulation of domestic markets of African elephants.

Fifty-seven parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) voted against the Namibia proposal, which was submitted to the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CITES taking place in Johannesburg.

Namibia’s proposal seeks to remove all CITES restrictions on regular and commercial trade in both government-owned and privately-owned ivory from Namibia and to remove all CITES restrictions on international commercial trade in live elephants from Namibia.

The rejection of the Namibian proposal was welcomed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Grace Gabriel, IFAW regional director for Asia, said she was excited to participate in the working group and to present evidence that closures of domestic ivory markets work.

She said IFAW has evidence demonstrating the positive impact of closing domestic ivory markets.

In 2011, elephant ivory and rhino horn were coveted as an investment vehicle in certain countries, pushing their price to an all-time high. Ivory sales volumes in the auction market reached 95 million U.S. dollars, a 170 percent increase from 2010.

Steven Broad, executive director of Traffic, a wildlife trade monitoring network, told Xinhua that they are concerned about the trafficking of wildlife species from Africa to Asia.

He said they are against the blanket ban on the trade in general.

Broad said, "This was a procedural vote and the domestic trade is still open in the working group.

"Namibia wanted a precedent.

"We prefer to target specific markets which have been identified as a problem country than a general ban on domestic markets."

Meanwhile, Malawi and Mozambique joined Botswana and Angola in calling for closure of domestic ivory markets.

Namibia has about 22,711 elephants. Since 2011, over 230 elephants have been illegally killed in Namibia and 37 this year.

The country has sold 32 live animals, 690 tusks, 11,255 kgs of tusks and 387 trophies between 2008 and 2014.

Calls emerge at CITES for legalizing trade in rhino horns

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- Calls for legalizing trade in rhino horns emerged on Wednesday at the ongoing world wildlife conference.

Swaziland, together with some other countries, submitted an 11th-hour proposal asking to be permitted to introduce a limited, regulated trade in rhino horn, during the 17th Conference of Parties (Cop17) to the the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

"We need to show our support for Swaziland’s proposal because the CITES ban on trade has clearly not helped to save the rhino," said Pelham Jones, chairman of the Private Rhino Owners Association (PROA) in South Africa.

Rhinos are facing the real possibility of extinction, with 100,000 rhino having been poached since 1977 when the CITES trade ban came into effect, according to the PROA.

Some 23 African range states have lost all their rhino and only a handful of southern African countries remain custodians of the white rhino, the organization said.

"Our militaristic approach has not worked—rhino are being killed on a daily basis, as are people trying to protect them. We have to find a better solution," Jones said.

In attempting to have the ban on international trade of rhino horn overturned, Swaziland is to be commended for its bold gambit, said Jones.

The plight of the white rhino is one of the major topics at the conference in Johannesburg.

The PROA has published a document calling for the legalization of trade in rhino horn, authored by a number of conservation experts, scientists, economists and individuals responsible for protecting rhino on a daily basis.

Jones said private rhino owners are increasingly having to sell their rhinos because they can no longer afford to look after them.

"A rhino owner wrote to me to tell me she had to sell her car to buy food for them because they cannot graze freely on the property due to the poaching risk," he said.

"She took her children out of private school simply to pay for rhino security.

"This is the reality on the ground," Jones said.

Jones said he believed that the Swaziland proposal will, at the very least, ignite debate about rhino horn trade.

"The NGOs at CoP17 do not own rhino and have no risk exposure, so it is easy for them to condemn legal trade as a model for conservation," he said.

Two-thirds of the 182 countries represented at CITES will have to vote in favour of abolishing the ban on trade for the Swaziland motion to be passed.

Southern African bloc to work on new approach to regulate trade in ivory

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has said that it will continue to work with all parties in an effort to develop a new approach to regulate the legal and sustainable trade in ivory.

In a joint statement issued by Namibia’s Environment Ministry on Wednesday it said that the approach will be for the benefit of conservation of the species and the socio-economic development of local communities who remain critical in the quest to conserve the African elephant for future generations.

The statement was issued following the Parties to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) decision to end the discussion on the establishment of a Decision Making Mechanism (DMM) for a process of future trade in certain designated stocks of ivory at the CITES 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) currently in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Earlier this week CITES shot down Namibia’s proposal to ban discussion on regulating domestic ivory markets.





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