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The tusk at hand: Africa wants to decide for itself how it uses ...

World

The tusk at hand: Africa wants to decide for itself how it uses its ellies

Since elephant numbers have swollen, southern African governments want the right to sell their ivory

Ray Ndlovu and Antony Sguazzin

African nations from Senegal to Botswana will seek to formulate a continent-wide position on the trade in live elephants and ivory, an attempt to counter restrictions imposed by the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). 

Opposition from Western conservationists to population control has seen their numbers explode in some areas, resulting in environmental damage and attacks on farmers, according to some African governments. The issue will be discussed at a meeting of environment and tourism ministers from 14 countries in Zimbabwe from May 23 to 26. Japan and China, two key markets for elephant products, will also be represented by their ambassadors to Zimbabwe.

While the overall population of African elephants has declined, with poaching rampant in many areas, their numbers have swollen in Zimbabwe and Botswana. Together with other southern African countries, they’ve demanded an easing of the curbs and the right to do as they please with their elephants and ivory stockpiles. ..

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