There seem to be two schools of thought right now in CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), which had its triennial conference this past October in South Africa.
One idea is to ban all ivory trade. The other idea is see to regulate the trade…meaning countries with large elephant populations (southern African countries) are allowed to sell certain amounts and then use those profits for conservation.
In the past, Botswana was one of the most vocal pro-trade countries. This year, however, Tshekedi Khama, the country’s Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, announced Botswana supports a full ban.
His statement: “Although Botswana supported the idea of limited, legal ivory sales from countries that managed their elephant herds sustainably, we now recognize that we can no longer support these sales. We must unite [in] solidarity with our colleagues regionally and worldwide to stop this crisis.”
This is very significant news as Botswana has the largest elephant population in Africa, with an estimated 130,000. By changing their stance, perhaps their neighboring countries will do the same!