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The Zimbabwean government wants permission to sell the confiscated ivory, for which it could receive $600 million (14 billion kroner). She would use it to protect herds of fast-growing elephants. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has banned the ivory trade since 1989.
There are now 100,000 elephants in Zimbabwe, twice the capacity of its parks. According to the government, their numbers are increasing by five percent annually. Neighboring Botswana has the highest number of elephants – there are 130,000 individuals, and almost half of the elephants live in the two African countries.
According to Reuters, the head of the Zimbabwe Wildlife Department, Fulton Mangwana, yesterday presented diplomats from the European Union with ivory warehouses confiscated from poachers and tusks of dead animals. According to Reuters, Zimbabwe has 130,000 tons of ivory and 67 tons of rhinos in the heavily guarded halls of Harare. The government is asking the European Union and other countries for permission to sell it.
In the group that now had the opportunity to display these stocks were the ambassadors of the Netherlands, Germany, France, Britain, Switzerland, Canada and the United States of America.
An event called “Elephant Summit” is scheduled to be held in Harare, Zimbabwe, in May. It will feature representatives from 14 African countries, China and Japan, and will manage the largest number of wild animals.
“We need help, the herds are growing at a rate of five percent a year,” Mangwana said. According to him, the situation is so dangerous that in the end the government will have no choice but to start shooting, which no one wants. According to the park’s management, the densely populated herds are destroying trees and other plants essential to the life of other species as well.
Botswana, which also wants to sell its confiscated ivory supplies, is having problems with its large herds. But many African countries do not agree with this. For example, according to Kenya, sales bans should be maintained to discourage any trade in ivory.
In 2019, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora also banned the sale of live elephants captured in Zimbabwe and Botswana, which was welcomed by conservationists but not by the crowded national parks department.
There is still an illegal ivory trade in which international unions fund poachers who kill and chop off their tusks. They sell it to countries where ivory is processed into the production of jewelry and ornaments.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said last year that elephants are increasingly threatened by poaching and habitat loss.
Zimbabwe and Botswana claim that without the option to sell their ivory supplies, they do not have the equipment to fight poachers. So far, they have benefited from tourism revenues that have fallen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zimbabwe wants to commit to using all of the money from the sale of ivory to develop parks and help communities who live in the area and face elephants.
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