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 Response from Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE MBE MBS DVMS over the CITES Secretariat decision to sanction China as a legal Buyer of the African Ivory Stockpiles. - 7/21/2008
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That the CITES Secretariat has not only endorsed the sale of the Southern African stockpiles (which will simply fuel illegal poaching) but has gone even further and  now sanctioned China as an importer of those legal stockpiles has outraged and disgusted the conservation world and all caring people throughout the world.  This CITES Secretariat vote simply goes to prove that The International Convention for TRADE in Endangered Species is all about TRADE and has little to do with the endangered species it is supposed to safeguard.   That China poses an ever growing threat to endangered species cannot be disputed.   That China is responsible for making those species endangered cannot be disputed.    That even Britain voted in favour of endorsing China as a legal importer of the stockpiles, knowing that it poses the greatest threat to elephants everywhere is shocking.   Gordon Brown has the blood of hundreds of elephants on his hands, and by this deed has succeeded in winning the ire of the British people, most of whom care about elephants, and care deeply.  

In recent times Chinese ivory traffickers have even been arrested at Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta Airport trying to smuggle out elephant ivory, one such bust on the 16th July..   The buyers of illegal ivory are now on our doorstep, and coming in ever growing numbers, even carving ivory in Central Africa where elephants are facing extinction, swapping ivory for guns in Zimbabwe, fuelling the slaughter of elephants throughout Africa, prompting the Southern Africans to replace their ivory stockpile which is about to be sold through another unnecessary “culling” exercise.  

We now know that elephants are virtually “human” animals.   They have exactly the same sense of family and death as us humans, they have memories that are far superior to ours, (something that has now been scientifically proven) they have a brain more sophisticated than ours in many respects, capable of hearing infrasound, capable of telepathic communication and capable of mysterious perception we will never be able to fathom.   They have all the best traits of humans and few of the bad, enormous compassion and caring that can provide an example for humans.   They should be protected and nurtured for the wonderful beings they are, rather than used as pawns in a game of trade and greed.   They are vital to the economies of many of the poorest African States, amongst which those of Southern Africa, (save Zimbabwe, of their own making) cannot be numbered, yet those rich States are given preferential treatment by CITES who chooses to ignore the voice of those who have suffered the loss of their elephants most.     

The conservation world is astounded, disgusted, baffled and outraged that the CITES Secretariat has ignored data from their own personnel within TRAFFIC which specializes on illegal trade in wildlife, has ignored the plea of Africa’s poorest countries, has ignored the advice of The Elephant Trade and Information System (IT IS) and MIKE (the Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants Programme) all of whom also conclude that China has been flouting the CITES regulations and is the single largest threat to elephants.  

The only hope now for the elephants is that the Standing Committee comprised of delegates from the DR Congo, Mali, Zambia, Kenya, China!!, Japan, Iran, Chile, Costa Rica, St. Vincent, Bulgaria, UK, Iceland, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Netherlands and Quatar will reject the Secretariat’s decision.   Is it not ironic that countries that have no wild elephants whatsoever, and who are only interested in trade should even have a say on that Standing Committee?  

UPDATE 24.07.2008

Sadly, but not unexpectedly, The Cites Standing Committee endorsed the Secretariat's decision to permit China to bid for the 2nd Southern African Ivory stockpile,  (9 votes in favour, 3 agains and 2 abstentions) so elephants will continue their decline Africa-wide, betrayed by hidden trade agendas and human avariciousness.  Shame on mankind for the suffering and slaughter of Africa's priceless heritage, and an animal whose emotional anguish duplicates that of our own under similar circumstances.

Speak up for elephants!

The decision to sanction the sale of ivory to China is not only ill informed and irresponsible, it has potentially signed the death warrant for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of wild elephants in Africa

Elephants cannot speak for themselves and it is the responsibility of compassionate, caring and informed men and women to give a voice to elephants.  We are therefore asking our supporters to sign a petition against the sanctioning of China as a legal buyer of ivory.


We have already added our name to this petition and hope you will do the same.  We would also urge you to copy and paste the statement below into an email to your friends and colleagues, so that they too can choose to sign this petition and speak out for elephants.

The author of this petition will present it to Gordon Brown, as well as representatives of the CITES standing committee.

Thank you.




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