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From  Issue
2 June 2002
Zambia Trying To Step Into The Ivory Trade

From Cheryl Ross - [email protected]
HUMANElines - Issue 197

Zambia has historically been one of the strongest opponents of the ivory trade in southern Africa. In 1992, it publicly burned its entire ivory stockpile -- nine metric tons -- as a gesture of support for the ivory trade ban. This November, however, in a shocking about-face, Zambia plans to push for a downgrading of protections for Zambian elephants -- all so that it can profit from its current, 17-metric ton stockpile of confiscated ivory. In order to sell its stockpile of ivory on the international market, Zambia will ask the Parties at the upcoming Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to downlist elephants from Appendix I (the category of species that may not be traded internationally) to Appendix II (the category of species whose international trade is legal but "regulated"). Such a move would be disastrous for the elephants; when CITES attempted to control a "legal" ivory trade in the 1980s, the resultant, massive increase in poaching cut the number of African elephants in the wild from 1.2 million to 600,000. Only after the international ivory trade was banned in 1989 did poaching dramatically decrease. A subsequent decision by CITES in 1997 to allow Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe to sell their stockpiled ivory to Japan on a one-time "experimental basis" precipitated a similar increase in elephant poaching in both Asia and Africa so that today, it is estimated that only 30,000 wild elephants remain in Asia and about 500,000 remain in Africa.

1.Contact the Zambian High Commission or Embassy and ask them to tell the Zambian government not to submit a proposal to downlist elephants at the next CITES meeting. Let them know that as a potential tourist, you'd rather see live elephants in Zambia than ivory necklaces in Tokyo. In the U.S., write to: The Embassy of the Republic of Zambia 2419 Massachusetts Ave., NW Washington, DC 20008

2. Send an e-mail to the High Commissioner, Mr. S. K. Mubukwanu (addressed as "Your Excellency"), by going to the Zambian High Commission-UK's web page ( and clicking on the guest book.

3. Sign the petition, which will be sent to the Zambian President:

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