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Commercial Ivory Trade, India is changing its stand

The African country, Namibia wanted India to help in lifting the ban on the ivory trade at CITES, Now India abstained from the vote

By Pallav Jain
New Update
Ivory Trade Ban Namibia India Deal

India has imported eight cheetahs from Namibia and is trying to resettle them in the Kuno Sanctuary of Madhya Pradesh.

India had been trying to resettle cheetahs in India for the last several years, when the African country Namibia agreed to send its cheetahs to India, then India's dream came true.

But in exchange for Cheetah to India, Namibia had put a condition that India should help African countries to remove the ban on ivory trade by putting pressure on the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

But India had said on this matter at that time that they cannot accept this condition of Namibia because they do not believe in wildlife trade but in conservation.

On November 18th, at the meeting in Panama, Zimbabwe introduced a proposal to allow the commercial sale of elephant tusks that were stockpiled by the governments of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

India abstained from the vote in this matter. Though the proposal was defeated India's decision to walk out raised questions about whether India had promised to help legalize the ivory trade in exchange for cheetahs from Namibia.

If it is so, then it will change India's long-standing policy regarding the ivory trade and will be called a compromise with its principles.

Also Read: India bringing African cheetahs to Kuno Sanctuary in MP but Why?

Many African countries, including Namibia, are outraged by the ivory trade ban imposed by the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1989. They want the ivory trade should be legalized. Let us understand why African countries are demanding to lift the ban on the ivory trade.

Why are African countries against Ivory Trade ban?

At the 18th Conference of Parties (CoP18), five South African countries, Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, called for the lifting of the ban on the ivory trade. More than 4 lakh African elephants live in these countries. Which is two thirds of the entire continent. Namibia is very desperate to get the ban on the ivory trade removed because they can earn a lot of money from the international market by trading ivory stocks. These countries believe that it is part of their natural resource. They have a right on this. The money that they will get from Ivory Trade can be used to protect the environment.

Countries opposing this ban say that rural people play a key role in environment conservation. Their income has been affected due to the ban on ivory trade. Illegal trade has increased due to the ban. The elephant population is also increasing beyond their capacity, They are destroying farmers' fields and human-animal conflict is increasing. The stock of ivory of elephants who died of natural death is increasing in these countries, it is not possible to sell them due to the ban.

ivory Trade Ban

Why Ivory trade is banned?

Ivory trade was banned in 1989 by the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Its purpose was to stop their hunting due to the trade of animal parts. In this, 181 countries had signed the agreement. In 1989, a significant decline in the population of African elephants was recorded due to poaching.

African countries such as Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania and Swaziland have been successful in preserving elephants, but the elephant population has exceeded the carrying capacity of these countries. They say that the revenue that will come from ivory trade can be spent in conservation efforts.

Value of Ivory in International Markets

These countries have a large stock of ivory. These countries can earn good revenue by selling it. For example, Zimbabwe has ivory worth more than 90 tonnes, which is worth around US$13 million. These ivories have been obtained from the natural death of elephants.

It is believed that the annual business of Illegal Ivory is close to US $ 18 billion. Most of the ivory comes from African countries. They are carved in India and China from which sculptures and artifacts are made. These finished goods are in high demand in the US and Europe.

Elephants Population

The increasing population of elephants is a major problem in African countries. Their economic condition is in bad shape. These countries can fulfill their big needs by getting the ivory trade ban lifted. Ivory holds a value of diamond for them.

But lifting the trade ban would mean promoting elephant poaching. However, despite the ban, there has been no decline in the cases of elephant poaching.

According to data from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) 2015, there are now only 0.47 million elephants left in countries where there were once between 3 million and 5 million African elephants.

The elephant population declined drastically between 2000-2015. In Central Africa, the elephant population has decreased by 62 percent. Between 2010 and 2012, one lakh elephants were poached in Africa. Poaching of elephants is also a major problem in Asian countries like China, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. Illegal trade of ivory is being done here in huge quantity.

It is necessary that some middle way can be found in it so that these countries can get the money for the ivory that is being received from the elephant's natural death.

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