Category Archives: Ivory ban

Zambia says it will re-submit bid to sell ivory at CITES

Zambia: Region to Resubmit Ivory Trade BidTimes of Zambia
30 July 2010

TOURISM, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Catherine Namugala has said Zambia will resubmit its proposal to the parties to the Convention in International Trade and Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to enable Zambia trade in ivory.

In a ministerial statement in Parliament yesterday, Ms Namugala said Zambia would submit its proposal to the next conference of parties scheduled to take place in Bangkok, Thailand in 2013.

During the last CITES in Doha, Qatar, held on March 13 to 25, Zambia had applied that the country’s elephant population be down listed from appendix I to II so that the nation could be allowed to trade in ivory but the proposal was rejected.

“Zambia as a sovereign State still has the right to resubmit a proposal to the next conference of Parties 16 which is scheduled to take place in Thailand in 2013.

To increase the chances for favourable consideration of our resubmission, we plan to increase funding allocated to law enforcement in lower Zambezi National Park and to reduce the high level of illegal off takes,” Ms Namugala said.

Through diplomatic channels with foreign missions, Zambia would engage regional groupings to support the intentions to down list the elephants.

The ministry would step up measures to monitor elephant population as well as controlling illegal trade.

Kenya, through some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) was against Zambia’s proposal.

Ms Namugala said this when she responded to questions from Chimbamilonga MP Brian Sikazwe (MMD) and Kankoyo MP Percy Chanda (PF) who wanted to know which countries and NGOs were against Zambia’s bid.

She, however, said the entire Southern African Development Community (SADC) region was behind Zambia’s proposal.

Article at the following link:

Namibia to Continue Trading in Omakipa

via Melissa Groo – Save The Elephants

Namibia to continue trading in omakipa

By Charles Tjatindi, Southern Times
April 19, 2010

Windhoek – Namibia will continue to trade in Omakipa – ivory amulets and trinkets often used in jewellery – following the withdrawal of a proposal by Kenya seeking to amend the current annotation regarding the elephants population of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild fauna and Flora banned the international commercial ivory trade in 1989. In 1997 and 2002, recognising that some southern African elephant populations were healthy and well managed, it permitted Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe to sell stocks of ivory to Japan totalling over 150 tonnes.

Kenya, which had roped in Congo, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Rwanda, Sierra Leone to support its cause to halt international trade in African elephant ivory and a 20-year moratorium on any proposals to relax international trade controls on African elephants, was however forced to withdraw its proposal at the recent CITES 15th Conference of Parties meeting (CoP15) in Doha, Qatar.

Kenya had also proposed that state parties to CITES destroy their rhino horn stock where desirable to discourage poaching.
Zimbabwe, which has well over 200 tonnes in ivory stockpiles, Tanzania (90 tonnes) and Zambia (21 tonnes) were however left celebrating at the end of the CoP15, as the same convention also resulted in Kenya withdrawing that proposal.

The proposal by Kenya and allies would have extended the moratorium on ivory trade for the next 20 years and forced them to burn their ivory stockpiles.

Requests by Tanzania and Zambia for down listing their elephants populations to the Appendix II – which would allow the two countries to sell government-owned stocks that have accumulated over the years – were however rejected.

Debate on the African elephant, which proved prominent an the conference, intensified during the two-week meeting as parties locked horns over the issue. A long-running global debate over the African elephant has focussed on the benefits that income from ivory sales may bring to conservation and to local communities living side by side with these large and potentially dangerous animals versus concerns that such sales may encourage poaching.

Over 150 Governments voting at the meeting adopted, however, decisions to strengthen wildlife management for several reptiles, combat illegal trafficking in tigers and rhinos and update the trade rules for a wide range of plant and animal species.

The 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention was held from 13 – 25 March. It was attended by some 1,200 participants from 150 governments and numerous observer organizations. COP16 will be held in 2013 in Thailand.

Article at the following link:
Melissa Groo
Save the Elephants News Service Researcher
For further information on elephants please see Save the Elephants’ web site

Ivory, python, leopard skins confiscated in Kenya

Courtesy of Melissa Groo – Save The Elephants

Ivory, python, leopard skins confiscated in Kenya

Associated Press

April 12, 2010

Police official Phomas Atuti says the three Kenyans were arrested in the capital of Nairobi on Monday after a tip-off.

They were trying to sell a small amount of ivory and the skins of three python, a leopard and three civet cats.

The animals are protected under Kenyan law.

Kenya recently has pushed African countries to step up enforcement against animal poaching, particularly poachers who target elephants for their ivory tusks. African ivory is often sent to China and Japan, where demand for ivory is high.

Melissa Groo
Save the Elephants News Service Researcher
For further information on elephants please see Save the Elephants’ web site

CITES Addendum on Tanzania and Zambia’s Proposals

From Melissa Groo – Elephant Voices

Today the CITES Secretariat released an addendum on Tanzania and Zambia’s proposals. This consists of final recommendations to the Parties concerning Proposals 4 and 5 related to Loxodonta africana (the African elephant).

In short, this states that, regarding Tanzania:

“The Secretariat is of the opinion that the proposal demonstrates that the population of Loxodonta africana
of the United Republic of Tanzania does not meet the biological criteria for its retention in Appendix I.
However, as evidenced by the findings of the Panel of Experts, the Secretariat is concerned about the
precautionary measures that are in place regarding enforcement and compliance. Anti-poaching efforts in
some parts of the country seem inadequate, the ivory stocks cannot be fully verified, and controls of illegal
trade in raw ivory originating from or transiting through the United Republic of Tanzania appear to be
For these reasons, the Secretariat recommends that the proposal be rejected.”

And, regarding Zambia:

“The Secretariat is of the opinion that the proposal demonstrates that the population of Loxodonta africana
of Zambia does not meet the biological criteria for its retention in Appendix I. On the basis of the findings of
the Panel of Experts, the Secretariat is satisfied that the management by Zambia of its population of
Loxodonta africana allows for the implementation of the requirements of the Convention, in particular
Article IV, and that appropriate and effective enforcement controls are in place.
For these reasons, the Secretariat recommends that the proposal be adopted.”

Please read the full document at:

Melissa Groo
Save the Elephants News Service Researcher
For further information on elephants please see Save the Elephants’ web site

Elephant Documents from CITES

This compendium of CITES documents is shared courtesy of Melissa Groo – Save the Elephants News Service Researcher

Currently, CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is holding their 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP15), in Qatar. The meeting ends on March 25.

Below are listed CITES documents related to elephants, including Proposals, Working Documents, Reports, and Summaries of Events.

There are three proposals up to amend elephant (loxodonta africana) listings in Appendices I and II. These can be found at the following site, but I will sum them up below the link.

Note that Appendix I lists species that are threatened with extinction and are or may be affected by trade. Appendix II lists species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but may become so unless trade in specimens of such species is subject to strict regulation. All African elephants are currently listed in Appendix I, except for those in the countries of Botswana, Nambibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, which are in Appendix II.

As proposed:
Tanzania wants to transfer their ele population from Appendix I to Appendix II to allow for:
a) trade in hunting trophies for non-commercial purposes;
b) a one-off sale of 89,848.74 kg (89 tons) from registered government-owned stocks

Zambia wants to transfer their ele population from Appendix I to Appendix II to allow for:
a) trade in hunting trophies for non-commercial purposes;
b) trade in live animals to appropriate and acceptable destinations
c) trade in raw hides;
d) a one-off sale of 21,692.23 kg (22 tons) from registered government-owned stocks,

Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Rwanda and Sierra Leone propose the following:
a) The only four countries whose ele populations are already in Appendix II–Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe–not be allowed to trade in ivory for nine years.
b) That no further proposals be submitted for trade in ivory from any country, for twenty years from the date of Cop15.
c) Cessation of trade in individually marked and certified ekipas incorporated in finished jewellery for non-commercial purposes for Namibia and ivory carvings for non-commercial purposes for Zimbabwe

Monitoring of Illegal Trade in Ivory and Other Elephant Specimens.
Prepared by the CITES Secretariat, this includes an overview of recent trends in ivory smuggling and seizure. It has an action plan section, general comments, and recommendations. Find it at:

The Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) and the Illicit Trade in Ivory
This is a report by ETIS, which is a comprehensive information system to track illegal trade in ivory and other elephant products. ETIS is managed by TRAFFIC on behalf of the CITES Parties. Find this at

Monitoring of Illegal Hunting in Elephant Range States
In addition to information on global trends in the level of illegal killing of elephants since 2002, this analysis investigates a number of site- and country-level variables that are significantly associated with levels of illegal killing at MIKE (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants) sites.

And more on MIKE’s results here:
Trends and Factors Associated with the Illegal Killing of Elephants

MIKE contracted Save the Elephants to undertake a detailed analysis of the illegal killing of elephants in a well-researched MIKE site, namely Laikipa-Samburu in Kenya. This is a unique site as it reports one of the highest elephant carcass recovery rates in the MIKE database, due largely to community involvement. Find this document, Levels of Illegal Killing of Elephants in the Laikipia-Samburu Mike Site, at

The CITES Secretariat will be taking into account the Report of the Panel of Experts on proposals to transfer populations of the African elephant from Appendix I to Appendix II. This was recently completed, and posted. The panel was made up of a CITES representative, a few consultants, and representatives from Tanzania and Zambia. Find the description of the panel composition and the process at:

The actual reports are found at:

Report of the Panel regarding the proposal of the United Republic of Tanzania

Report of the Panel regarding the proposal of Zambia

CITES Summary Records of each day’s events can be found at

Thai customs seizes 2 tons of ivory

Today, we received these news about the largest ivory seizure in the history of Thailand. This ivory consignment originated from South Africa and was pallets marked ‘mobile phone parts’. This is very worrying at a time when Tanzania and Zambia are pushing for legal sale of their stockpiled ivory even after the previous sale by four southern Africa states including South Africa, resulted in increased elephant poaching and illegal ivory trade.

Here is the full article by MICHAEL CASEY | AP Environmental Writer as it appears on Yahoo News.

Thai customs seizes 2 tons of ivory
By Michael Casey | AP Environmental Writer

ele-faceThailand has seized two tons of elephant tusks from Africa hidden in pallets labeled as mobile phone parts in the country’s largest ivory seizure.

Thai Customs officials valued Wednesday night’s haul at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport at 120 million baht ($3.6 million). It is further sign that Thailand is emerging as a hub for the illicit trade.

Poaching of elephants in central and eastern Africa has intensified in recent years, with much of the illegal ivory exported to Asia.

Seree Thaijongrak, the direct of investigation and suppression bureau for the Customs Department, said that acting on a tip, officials seized two pallets found to contain 239 tusks of African elephants.

The consignment, which originated in South Africa, was labeled as mobile phone parts in a consignment destined for Laos – apparently to confuse customs officials, as Laos has an agreement with neighboring Thailand not to check cargo in transit.

A Thai national, however, attempted to pick up the cargo and was detained, Seree said. Customs officials suspect the tusks would have been crafted into trinkets and jewelry in Thailand.

“This is the biggest seizure we have ever had,” Seree said. “This is a real accomplishment for Thailand. Normally, this would have gone right through but we got the tip-off.”

Seree said smuggling of ivory from Africa is on the rise in Thailand as in much of Southeast Asia.

Ivory shipped to Thailand typically goes to carvers who fashion it into Buddhist statues, bangles and jewelry for sale to tourists or sale in other countries. Thailand is also a transit point for ivory forwarded to other markets like China.

Last month, Thailand arrested two Thai women accused of dealing in illegal African ivory, a day after an American and a Thai national were indicted in California on charges of smuggling ivory into the United States. Police believe the women supplied ivory to the Thai national whom prosecutors say sold several pieces of ivory on eBay, disguising shipments as gifts and toys.

The U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species banned all international ivory trade in 1989. Traders in Thailand have thrived in part because the 1989 ban did not address domestic trade. That loophole allows them to deceive authorities by claiming their African ivory came from domestic sources – a tactic that is effective because it can be difficult without DNA testing to tell the difference between African and Asian ivory.

Authorities say 10 tons of African ivory was seized in Southeast Asia last year, including three seizures in Thailand.

The African wildlife Police – Lusaka Task force

For those who are interested in the war against illegal trade in wildlife you will be interested in learning about the Lusaka Task force or Lusaka Agreement on Co-operative Enforcement Operations, an African wildlife crime fighting unit.

It was the brain-child of Wildlife Law Enforcement Officers from eight Eastern and Southern African countries meeting in Lusaka, Zambia in December 1992, under Zambia’s Ministry of Tourism. It was adopted on 8th September 1994, with UN Secretary General, New York  the Depositary and came into force in December 1996. It is headquartered in Nairobi Kenya at the KWS headquarters.

Currently, there are six Parties to the Agreement: The Republics of Congo (Brazzaville), Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and the Kingdom of Lesotho. Republics of South Africa, Ethiopia and the Kingdom of Swaziland are signatories.

How does it work?The Lusaka Agreement Task Force is a permanent law enforcement institution established to facilitate co-operative activities among the National Bureaus in carrying out investigations pertaining to illegal trade in wild fauna and flora. It comprises seconded law enforcement officers from Party States and locally recruited support staff.

Some of the achievements:


Vietnam ivory seizure Lusaka Task Force
The Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) working jointly with the Tanzania Wildlife Division (TWD) and Interpol National Central Bureau (NCB) Dar es Salaam on 17th December, 2009 managed to arrest the main suspect in connection with illegal export of 769 pieces of elephant tusks, weighing 2005.6 Kg seized at the port of Hai Phong, Vietnam in August 2009. The contraband was disguised as sea shells and believed to have originated from Zanzibar. This arrest followed intensive investigation coordinated by LATF that started in September 2009. The arrested suspect Ramadhani Pandu Makame (alias Babu Rama) was indicated the exporter on the contraband’s accompanying documents. The investigation (ongoing) has also enabled collection of intelligence on the modus operandi, trade routes and possible destinations of elephant tusks in the Far East from the Region.


ivory seizure Kenya Lusaka Task Force KWS

The Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) working together with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has managed to recover seven pieces of elephant tusks along the Kenya-Somalia border. The recovery involved a joint operation that took place between 3rd and 8th August 2009. This followed intelligence reports that indicated intensive smuggling of ivory trophies in the area. The operation has also enabled further collection of intelligence regarding the illegal activities of wildlife traffickers in the region.

Check out the LATF website  for more information

Arrests in California over ivory trade on ebay

2 men indicted in Calif. for ivory smugglingThe Associated Press

January 19, 2010LOS ANGELES — Two men have been indicted in California on charges of smuggling ivory from endangered African elephants into the United States.

Samart Chokchoyma of Thailand is accused of selling the ivory on eBay to Moun Chau of Montclair, Calif.

Prosecutors in Los Angeles said Tuesday that both men are charged with violating an international treaty that protects endangered species. Prosecutors say investigators seized ivory specimens from a business owned by Chau in Claremont.

Chokchoyma was arrested in November by Thai authorities and faces charges under Thai law.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office says authorities will monitor that case. Chau will be summoned to appear for arraignment next month.

A phone number on a Web site under Chau’s name is disconnected.

Article at the following link:

Cameroon struggles against elephant poachers

The proposals to trade in ivory from Zambia and Tanzania are not surprisingly sending jitters around Africa.

Cameroon is a country that is particularly vulnerable to poaching. Now the government claims that the problem is worst in the protected areas.

Here is a full news article about the situation there.

Ivory Dealers Targeting Protected areas (Cameroon)

The Guardian Post

18 January 2009

The illegal killing of elephants in and around protected areas such as the Korup National Park in the South West Region and the Dja Reserve in the South Region seems to be on the increase and the government of Cameroon, with the support of the international community is in a renewed alert mode to track down the elephant traffickers and bring them to justice.

The year 2009 ended with the arrest of three wildlife traffickers and an eco-guard of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife in Meyomessala in the Dja and Lobo Division of the South Region for killing an elephant.

The operation that led to the arrest of the 3 elephant traffickers was carried out by the officials of the Meyomessala Antenna of the Dja Bioshpere Reserve in collaboration with the Gendarmerie Brigade of Meyomessala. The local authorities of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife are establishing a case file against the offenders.

Before this operation, the South West Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife had, in a similar operation arrested another wildlife trafficker for killing 7 elephants for the ivory trade at the Korup National Park. The trafficker is presently serving a 5-year jail term at the Buea prison for the crime.

Governments are taking serious measures against illegal trade in protected wildlife species. Debbie Banks of the Environmental Investigation Agency – EIA has observed that,’ “without these measures, the plunder will continue, threatening species with extinction, stealing from local and national economies and undermining global efforts towards sustainable development”.

Illegal cross-border Trade

Late last year three wildlife traffickers were arrested in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo in possession of 40 kilogram’s of ivory. The traffickers had crossed the river from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the ivory.

That is a graphic example of how illegal cross-border trade in elephant parts, notably, ivory, is reported to be the main factor driving African elephants to extinction. It has been reported for example that within the 1970s and 1980s, referred to as the “Ivory Holocaust”, Africa’s elephant population plunged from an estimated 1.3 million animals to 500 000. Furthermore, wildlife conservation experts have revealed that 38 000 elephants are killed annually in Africa to feed the growing demand for carved ivory in Eastern Asia. At this rate, they have warned that the elephant would become extinct across most of sub-Saharan Africa in 15 years.

Cameroon Government Alertness

Against the background of this consideration the government of Cameroon with the support of the international community is leaving no stone unturned in her effort to enforce her law of 1994 governing the wildlife sector in Cameroon. “Our mission is to identify actors engaged in illegal wildlife trade…and to make sure that they are within the ambit of the law and also that the prosecution of defaulters follows”, warns Professor Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, Minister of Forestry and Wildlife.

Until further notice, the only solution to elephant extinction is the effective enforcement of existing wildlife laws, using the media extensively to create deterrence in wildlife crimes.

Chinese arrested for ivory in Brazzaville

Dear supporters,

We just received this good news from Luc Mathot in Congo Brazzaville.

“Here is the last upadate about the arrest of four Chinese for ivory trafic two days ago in Brazzaville.

Chinese ivory dealer Brazzaville Congo wildlifedirect

The Chinese leader, who explained he is responsible for the ivory, is still in jail this morning. It seems it is the first time a Chinese is in jail and prosecuted for ivory trafic in Central Africa.

The three other ones have been released as the “procureur de la République” considered is is not necessary to keep them in jail as they are considered “only” as accomplices (two of them had small quantities of ivory in their bedroom and the third one had no ivory at all). This decision seems logical.

Chinese ivory dealer Brazzaville Congo wildlifedirect

Please congratulate the Congolese authorities for the work they accomplished and the support they gave and accepted to/from PALF.


Luc Mathot


PALF (Projet d’Appui à l’Application de la Loi sur la Faune)
The Aspinall Foundation

Wildlife Conservation Society