Zimbabwe May Withdraw From Endangered-Species Deal to Sell $300 Million of Ivory

A Zimbabwe National Parks game ranger holds an elephant ivory tusk in the country's ivory vault in Harare, on June 2, 2016.Photographer: Jekesai Njikizana /AFP via Getty Images
  • Frustration is growing over sales ban, wildlife chief says
  • Japan has shown interest in buying country’s stockpile

Zimbabwe may consider withdrawing from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) because the organization won’t allow it to sell its ivory stockpile.

The southern African nation with the world second-largest population of elephants has a stockpile of tusks worth an estimated $300 million and needs the revenue, Fulton Mangwanya, director-general of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, told lawmakers in the capital, Harare on Monday.

While CITES has banned international ivory sales to curb poaching, frustration is growing over the fact that “other countries are prescribing how we should handle our animals,” Mangwanya told a parliamentary committee on environment and tourism. Withdrawing from CITES would have the support of neighbors Botswana, Zambia and Namibia, which all have large elephant populations of their own, he said.

In recent years, Zimbabwe has raised money for conservation by selling elephants to China. The size of the population, estimated at 84,000, is twice what can be supported by available food and land, according to the government. Botswana last month lifted a hunting ban on wildlife because it says it has too many elephants, which destroy crops and sometimes kill people.

The last once-off commercial sale of stockpiles of elephant ivory from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe that CITES allowed was completed in 2009. Most of the tusks went to China and Japan.

“Countries like Japan are supporting us, China is dilly-dallying, I’m not quite sure why, but they are the ones that want our ivory,” Mangwanya said.

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CITES COP 18 POSTPONED

Reacting to the dreadful bombings of 21 April 2019, the Members of the Standing Committee expressed
their strong solidarity with the Government and people of Sri Lanka and agreed to postpone the 18th meeting
of the Conference of the Parties (CoP18) originally scheduled be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 23 May
to 3 June 2019, as well as the associated 71st and 72nd meetings of the Standing Committee (SC71 and
SC72).


1. Dates and venue
The 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties will be held in Geneva, Switzerland from 17 to 28 August
at the following address:
Palexpo
Centre de Congrès
Route François-Peyrot 30
CH-1218 Grand-Saconnex
Geneva, Switzerland
https://www.palexpo.ch/en/our-congress-center
The 71st and 72nd meetings of the Standing Committee will be held at the same venue on 16 August and 28 August respectively.