MP pledges to protect endangered elephants from the deadly ivory trade
Sir George is taking a stand to protect thousands of endangered elephants from the brutal ivory trade. In July, a decision may be made to allow China to buy ivory from government stockpiles in southern Africa – a move that could spell disaster for elephants.
He is supporting the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s ivory trade campaign calling on the government to bring together EU partners to oppose China as an ivory buyer.
"The Ivory trade has been banned since 1989, however, every year approximately 20,000 elephants are killed to supply the illegal ivory trade – and this is on the increase. China is the single major destination for this illegal ivory, and has the world's largest black market for ivory. "
IFAW is campaigning around the world to ensure that China is not allowed to import stockpiled ivory – a move which could see ivory from illegally killed African elephants being laundered within legal stocks, due to the country’s inadequate enforcement controls.
There is strong evidence that soaring Chinese demand for ivory is responsible for the deaths of large numbers of elephants. In Africa, Chinese citizens have been convicted of illegally trading ivory in 22 of the 37 elephant range states. Only last month, two Chinese nationals were charged with the possession and attempted smuggling of ivory out of Kenya. Whilst in March, approximately one ton of ivory was seized in Guangxi, China - representing the death of at least 80 elephants.3
"I am proud to support IFAW’s campaign to protect elephants from being slaughtered for their tusks. These majestic creatures are being killed by poachers by the tens of thousands each year for the cruel and unsustainable trade in ivory. I believe elephants belong in the wild and should be protected in their natural habitat for future generations. We must stamp out ivory trade before it is too late."
Robbie Marsland, Director of IFAW UK said: "If China is approved as an ivory buyer it will open the floodgates to allow large quantities of illegal ivory to be traded. The rise in legal trade will act as a smokescreen for illegal ivory to be laundered on the black market. Opposing this decision is crucial in the fight to protect the world's remaining elephants."
For further information on IFAW's work www.ifaw.org
Notes to Editors:
1 Elephants are protected from trade by the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This is an agreement signed by more than 170 countries, regulating trade in about 5,000 species of animals and 25,000 species of plants.
2 At the 14th CITES Conference of the Parties meeting in June 2007, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe were permitted a one-off sale of ivory from their stockpiles. Japan has been approved as a buyer and now China also wants to benefit. China’s request to be a trading partner will be considered at the CITES Standing Committee will take place in Geneva in July 2008.
3 Recent large ivory seizures in Hong Kong (4 tons) and Taiwan (2 tons) have also revealed a direct link between poaching and Chinese markets.
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