Elephants In The Dust

Ivory poaching, particularly the poaching of African elephants, has increased dramati- cally in recent years. Dramatic declines in elephant populations caused by excessive poaching during the 1970s–1980s was followed by increases in much of the Eastern and Southern African regions. INTRODUCTION

During the 1990s, elephant poaching in Southern and East- ern Africa either dropped in areas where poaching had been high or remained low in the areas where there had been little poaching. In most of Central and West Africa on the other hand, poaching gradually increased during this period (Poilecot, 2010; Poilecot et al. 2010a; Bouché et al. 2010; Bouché et al. 2012). By the mid to late 2000s, elephant poaching had once again picked up across Africa, to a level similar to the elephant killings of the 1970s and 1980s (Okello et al. 2008; Poilecot 2010; Poilecot et al. 2010a; 2010b; Bouché et al. 2010; 2011; 2012; Maingi et al. 2012). The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Spe- cies of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement to which States (countries) adhere voluntarily. States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention (‘joined’ CITES) are known as Parties. The purpose of the Convention is to regulate the international trade in endan- gered species of fauna and flora to ensure their survival is not threatened. CITES entered into force in 1975 and today 177 States are signatories to the Convention (CITES 2013a). CITES works by subjecting the international trade in speci- mens of selected species to certain controls, and all Parties to theConventionareobliged to implement a licensingsystemto designateoneormoreManagement Authorities to the admin- istrationof that licensing systemand todesignateoneormore Scientific Authorities to advise them on the effects of trade What is CITES and how does it work?

Rapid economic development and changes in consumption patterns in Asia have increased demand for ivory, particularly in China and in Thailand. Other products from endangered wildlife species, including rhino horn, are also in demand in Asia, particularly in Viet Nam. The demand for these products derives from their use in alternative medicine and from their use as symbols of status (Blanc and Burnham 2011; Christy 2012; Martin et al. 2011).

This rise in demand coincides with an increase in the number of potential consumers not just in Asia, but also on the ground in

on the status of the species. All Parties have to report annu- ally to the CITES Secretariat on the number of specimens traded, as well as on what national measures they have taken to fulfil their international obligations (CITES 2013b; Lemieux and Clarke 2009). Today, close to 35,000 species are protected under the CITES. These are listed in three Appendices according to their sta- tus of protection. International, commercial trade in species listed in Appendix I is approved only in exceptional circum- stances. The international trade in species listed in Appendix II is allowed but is regulated and controlled to ensure that it is legal and sustainable, and that it does not threaten the species survival in the wild. Appendix III includes species that are protected in at least one member country, which has asked the other Parties for assistance in controlling the trade of this species (CITES 2013b).


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