Wednesday 14 September 2016

IUCN votes to close down all domestic ivory markets

Honolulu, Hawaii – On Saturday, September 10th world government and NGO representatives voted at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress in Hawaii urging governments to close down their domestic ivory markets.

Domestic ivory sales in most countries are legal. Many experts believe that domestic ivory markets help fuel poaching by stimulating demand and allowing traffickers a cover for their illegal imports and exports.

A recent survey by Paul G. Allen’s Great Elephant Census (GEC) earlier this month revealed that in just seven years there has been a 30% decline of Africa’s elephant populations due to the enormous demand for ivory.

In response, the IUCN, which has 1,300 members from more than 160 countries, voted in favour of closing domestic markets by an overwhelming majority of 91%.

This was in spite of fierce resistance from South Africa, Namibia and Japan – the latter with a thriving domestic ivory market of its own – who threatened to walk out of the debate and resign from the IUCN in protest.

The three countries then sought to soften the language of the motion by insisting on no less than 20
different amendments. All were rejected.

Credit: Adam Cruise - Conservation Action Trust for this article.

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