TWO ILLEGAL SHIPMENTS OF BLOOD IVORY TESTAMENT OF CITES’ FAILURE TO PROTECT ELEPHANTS
(Posted 10th October 2016)
300 kilogrammes of ivory just a few days ago and now over half a ton of blood ivory yesterday is the haul of vigilant customs and security officers at both Ho Chi Minh City Port and the airport of Hanoi, both shipments coming from Africa with at least one identified as originating from Mozambique.
Vietnam, as are China and a handful of other South and Far Eastern countries, are the main destinations for the shipment of blood ivory as domestic ‘consumption’ remains high under domestic laws which have failed to ban the possession, processing and trade of any form of ivory products.
The recently concluded COP17 of CITES, the body tasked with the regulation and protection of endangered animal species, has spectacularly failed to afford the African elephant better protection by raising the animal’s level on to the Appendix One platform, to a large extend attributed to the European Union in a bizarre U-turn of previous assurances, kicking the African Elephant Coalition countries in the teeth by voting the proposal down in Johannesburg.
‘Such seizures will continue while a lot of illegal ivory will find its way to the buyers in Asia. CITES has failed us here in East Africa, the EU has failed us in East Africa and very sadly it will be the remaining few elephant which will pay the ultimate price for political opportunism‘ said a regular conservation source from Nairobi overnight when asked to comment on this latest seizures in Vietnam.
Kenya at the end of April this year burned 105 tons of ivory in a statement worth hundreds of millions of Dollars to show the country’s opposition to any form of trade but the gesture, given the failure of the world community at COP17 in Johannesburg to afford the African elephants greater protection, is now seen as almost a passing cloud as neither demand nor price of blood ivory has significantly changed since then.