Although the passage of an international ban on the ivory trade in 1989 was a major step toward improved protection for African elephants, this protection has been removed due to political maneuvering which began at the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP10), held in Zimbabwe in June, 1997.
Attempts to further erode the ivory ban were beaten back when Friends of Animals lobbied against proposals to grant ivory quotas to the southern African countries of Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa at COP 11 held in Nairobi, Kenya, in April 2000. But the COP meeting in Santiago, Chile in November 2002 resulted in dismantling the ivory prohibition by authorizing the governments of Botswana, South Africa and Namibia to sell ivory stocks.
There are still a number of serious difficulties facing the great pachyderm. These magnificent animals are still being killed, and the future of the species is still at risk.
In some African countries, elephants are legally shot on safari by American and European trophy hunters. Elsewhere, elephants are shot because they are considered a nuisance to agriculture, or because some ignorant and obtuse park manager thinks the elephants are simply eating too much vegetation. And every day, the elephants of Africa lose more and more of their habitat. New villages and farmlands cut their traditional migration routes. Irrigation schemes drain their drinking and bathing pools.
Poachers shoot elephants to supply contraband ivory for black markets in the Far East, and to supply contraband bushmeat for nearby communities. Due to demand for wildlife products, elephants are not the only African wild animal facing serious problems. The plight of the rhinoceros is well known. Poachers kill them for horns which are sold for $5,000 a pound in the traditional pharmacies of the Far East.
Friends of Animals continues to make maximum efforts to support African wildlife, and protect them from poaching. FoA establishes strict standards for cooperating with government wildlife agencies: We must be persuaded that they are entirely scrupulous, and devoted to their wildlife. We insist that they abide by CITES, the endangered species treaty, and other relevant agreements. And when we see that they are putting their full energies into their wildlife protection responsibilities, FoA joins in whole-heartedly, with maximum resources available.
But FoA's maximum resources are defined by its membership and supporters. FoA depends upon the generosity of people who want to protect all the elephants, and all the hippos and giraffes and chimpanzees and all the other wild animals which, together, constitute the great living treasure of Africa. Contributions to Friends of Animals assure continued practical protection of many African wild animals right where it counts: campaigning in the market place to shut down trade in ivory, fur, live animals and other wildlife exploitations, and supporting the anti-poaching ranger patrols which provide physical protection to wild animals in their natural habitats.
What You Can Do:
Don't buy or wear ivory! Even the tiniest trinket encourages the wholesale slaughter of elephants!
Help publicize the elephant's plight Write letters to the editor of your local paper. Order our brochures and distribute them to schools and libraries in your area.
Help FoA continue our anti-poaching campaign, educational and legislative efforts on behalf of the elephant by sending a generous donation today.
- International Ivory Ban Lifted
November 19, 2002