Debate over ivory ban to figure in CITES meet

With some of the African countries pressing for lifting the
ban on ivory trade, the meeting of Convention on the
International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
starting at the Hague on June 3 is likely to witness a
heated debate on the issue, according an expert here.
South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana are
expected to raise at the meet their demand for lifting the
20-year-old ban on ivory trade to sell their stockpile and
control elephant population, according to Dr Jacob V
Cheeran, former head of the Wildlfie Department of Kerala
Agricultural University.

For quite some time, these countries had been pressing
for a relaxation in the ban arguing that the income from
ivory sales could be routed for elephant conservation
programmes, Dr Cheeran told PTI.

The counter argument was that resumption of ivory trade
would lead to poaching and severely endanger the African
elephant, Dr Cheeran, also elephant specialist on the
International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural
Resources (ICUN) said.

Those who were seeking relaxation on the ban would be
basing their demand on the ground that there had been a
spurt in elephant population in some of the countries since
the ivory ban came into effect two decades back. Also,
official ivory trade would be much less dangerous than the
flourishing illegal trade.

International conservation outfits were expected to stiffly
oppose any move to reconsider the ban on ivory, which
had yielded positive results in elephant conservation, Dr
Cheeran added.

                                                              
June 01, 2007
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