CITES Report Finds Increased Elephant Poaching, Ivory Seizures
21 June 2012: A report from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) highlights that elephant poaching is at record levels in a decade, as are ivory seizures since 1989. The report stresses the need to implement the African Elephant Action Plan.
The report, titled "Elephant Conservation, Illegal Killing and Ivory Trade," is based on data from the CITES programme on Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE), International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) data on the status of elephant populations, the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) managed by TRAFFIC, and the CITES trade database managed by the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC).
The data show a close correlation between trends in elephant poaching and trends in large-scale ivory seizures. According to the report, in 2011 alone, there were 14 large-scale ivory seizures. China and Thailand are the two primary destinations for illegal ivory consignments exported from Africa. While some African and Asian countries have made efforts to enhance enforcement, poaching levels are increasing regardless. According to the MIKE analysis, poaching tends to be the highest where human livelihoods are most insecure and where governance and law enforcement are very weak. IUCN data indicate that illegal killing of elephants has increased in recent years in Asia as well.
John Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General, notes that enforcement efforts to stop wildlife crime must go beyond seizures and translate into prosecutions, convictions and strong penalties to stop the illegal trade.
The report's findings will be presented and discussed at the 62nd meeting of CITES' Standing Committee to be convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 23-27 July 2012. [Joint Press Release] [Publication: Elephant Conservation, Illegal Killing and Ivory Trade]