UN applauds China's efforts to combat illegal ivory trade

UN applauds China's efforts to combat illegal ivory trade

UNEP photo: Confiscated ivory seizure in China

Jan 09, 2014
Nairobi, 6 January 2014 - Six tonnes of confiscated ivory were destroyed by the authorities in China, Monday, in an effort to combat the illegal trade in elephant tusks.
The seized ivory was fed into crushing machines in the southern city of Dongguan, in what was described as the first public destruction of ivory in China.

According to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), elephant poaching in Africa could lead to local extinctions if the present killing rates continue.

The situation is particularly acute in Central Africa, where the estimated poaching rates are twice the continental average.

UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Achim Steiner said, "We congratulate China and the State Forestry Administration on this milestone event."

"The largest remaining land mammal on the planet is facing one of the greatest crises to hit the species in decades. The latest CITES data estimates that some 47,000 animals were killed in Africa in 2011 and 2012."

"Yet, there is reason for optimism. International cooperation is paving the way towards improved law enforcement and increased efforts to reduce demand. These efforts need to be stepped up and strengthened to produce the desired results."

"We have also seen the destruction of ivory stockpiles across range, transit and demand states: in the Philippines, the Gabon, the US and China among others. As well as create critical public awareness, such actions send a clear message that wildlife crime will not be tolerated," he added.

Increased poaching and loss of habitats are decimating African elephant populations -

especially in Central African countries - according to a report entitled Elephants in the Dust: The African Elephant Crisis, released last March.

The UN estimates that over 17,000 elephants were illegally killed in monitored sites in 2011 alone. Overall figures may be much higher.

Secretary-General of CITES John E. Scanlon, speaking at the event, said, "Despite considerable efforts to combat wildlife crime, it continues to be a problem worldwide. Illegal trade in elephant ivory is having a devastating impact on the African elephant, and it also poses a threat to people and their livelihoods - it must stop. China, and the entire international community, are determined to end this illicit trade."

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