Africa’s elephants are already being killed in their tens of thousands for their ivory. Demand for ivory was further fuelled by the CITES endorsed legalised sales of stockpiled ivory in 2008 by South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Subsequently illegal ivory poaching escalated, with the legalised sales acting as a smokescreen for the illegal trade. In Kenya the value of ivory to the poacher has risen from USD$5 per Kilo to USD$50 per kilo since those legalised sales took place! On 13 March 2010 at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP15), proposals from Tanzania and Zambia to sell 110 tonnes of ivory will be considered by the 175 CITES countries. There is NO doubt that should this sale be approved, it will trigger an further escalation in the level of illegal ivory poaching, leading to the death of thousands more elephants.
In February we created a petition calling on CITES to say NO to any further ivory sales. Over 11,600 people, from 70 countries, signed this petition! On 9 March we closed this petition, to ensure we had time to present it to the CITES representatives from each of the 70 countries from which people signed it. 11,616 individual voices coming together as one voice calling for the proposals from Tanzania and Zambia to be rejected and the international ban on ivory sales upheld. A number of other NGOs have created their own similar petitions and between them all, more than 100,000 people have so far voiced their opposition to any proposed ivory sales. As soon as we have news of the CITES decision, we will post it online.