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 user 2007-06-07 at 3:02:00 pm Views: 74
  • #18294

    US ‘major illegal ivory importer’
    The report’s authors found thousands of ivory items for sale
    US has become a major importer of illegal ivory, according to a report
    from the British organisation Care for the Wild International (CWI).The
    conservation group’s assessment is based on more than 1,000 visits to
    shops by its investigators.CWI also notes that the internet is an
    increasingly important conduit for the ivory trade.Leading online
    auction site eBay has announced it will prevent ivory being traded
    internationally from its sites.Its announcement followed an
    investigation by another conservation group, the International Fund for
    Animal Welfare (Ifaw), which recently documented the scale of ivory
    movements on eBay.

    Asian origins
    CWI report was released here at the Convention on International Trade
    in Endangered Species (CITES) summit.The group’s consultants Esmond
    Martin and Daniel Stiles visited shops in 15 US cities, finding more
    than 23,000 pieces of ivory on sale.They ranged from small trinkets
    costing about $50 (£25) to large sculptures priced upwards of $400,000
    (£200,000).With the exception of a small number of hunting trophies,
    any new ivory coming into the US must be an illegal import.The
    international trade was banned in 1989 after indiscriminate hunting had
    halved the African elephant population in a decade.The only legal
    exports from Africa since then involve a one-off sale of stockpiled
    ivory from Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe into Japan. But re-export
    from Japan is also illegal.CWI is calling on US authorities to step up
    enforcement of international and domestic laws.

    Threatened organisms listed on three appendices depending on level of risk
    Appendix 1 – all international trade banned
    Appendix 2 – international trade monitored and regulated
    Appendix 3 – trade bans by individual governments, others asked to assist
    - moving organism to a more protective appendix, “downlisting” – the
    reverse Conferences of the Parties (COPs) held every three years
    administered by UN Environment Programme (Unep)While applauding the
    efforts of customs forces to seize consignments of ivory, it says
    monitoring and enforcement at the retail level is virtually
    non-existent.”I never spoke to a single shop owner who said anyone came
    to visit,” noted Esmond Martin.US assistant secretary of state Claudia
    McMurray admitted that local level enforcement might be lacking.”If we
    catch it coming into the US then it’s clearly illegal,” she said, “but
    if it’s in a state that doesn’t have laws against the trade in ivory,
    then the chances are they won’t have enforcement,” she told BBC News.A
    second limited sale of stockpiled southern African ivory has just
    received final approval, and more are being sought at this meeting.CWI
    chief executive Barbara Maas said the US findings suggested no more
    exports should be approved.”We feel it’s not safe to loosen trade
    restraints further,” she told BBC News.”If [the importers] can evade
    customs forces even in a well-resourced country like the US, they can
    do it anywhere.”

    Tusks online
    Ifaw’s report on the internet wildlife trade, Bidding for Extinction,
    the organisation has been working with eBay to tighten things up.Ifaw
    found more than 9,000 wild animals and animal products on sale within a
    single week, and that from looking only at English language websites.

    EBay has now responded by pledging to stop international sale of banned goods.
    the right thing to do,” said Matt Halprin, eBay’s vice president of
    policy management.”By strengthening our policy we give sellers a clear
    and consistent policy that in turn provides confidence for those people
    who wish to buy legitimate and legal ivory items.”
    The company says it will take down any adverts featuring an international shipping option.

    Horn trade pressures some rhinos
    Across Africa as a whole, rhinos have been on the increase
    rise in poaching has put some rhino populations at risk of
    extinction.The wildlife trade organisation Traffic has documented a
    five-fold increase in the volume of rhino horn entering the illegal
    market between 2000 and 2005.The populations most affected are in
    western and central Africa and Nepal, with one sub-species in Cameroon
    believed extinct already.However, overall, rhinos are doing well with
    Africa-wide numbers increasing by about 6% every year.The Traffic
    report was released at the Convention on International Trade in
    Endangered Species (CITES) summit in The Hague.”We are seeing an
    increase in the quantity of horn which is leaving the continent,” said
    Simon Milledge, Traffic’s deputy director for eastern and southern
    Africa.”The main market remains in east and southeast Asia, as well as
    in the Middle East. It’s a concern.”

    Poached to extinction
    the middle of the 1800s, there were probably more than a million black
    and white rhinos on the plains of Africa.Rapacious hunting by European
    settlers brought numbers down spectacularly, and at one point the
    southern white was thought extinct.Protective measures brought a
    reversal for both species, and in southern and eastern Africa, the
    revival continues, with countries such as Namibia and South Africa
    having found a new use for their rhinos as a tourist attraction.

    Making conservation pay
    the continent, there are now more than 14,000 white and nearly 4,000
    black rhinos. Live animals can legally change hands for between $20,000
    and $50,000 (£10-25,000), far more money than an illegally traded horn
    can bring.The Traffic report names Cameroon, Democratic Republic of
    Congo and Zimbabwe as countries where protective measures have broken
    down.An expedition in Cameroon last year found that the one remaining
    tiny population of the northern black rhino sub-species Diceros
    bicornis longipes had probably been poached to extinction.DRC is home
    to the last four northern white rhinos (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) in

    Hunting profits
    rhinos, meanwhile, show a mixed picture.Indian populations are rising;
    but in Nepal, recent conflict has brought heavy poaching. And there are
    other problems in Indonesia.”The Sumatran and Javan rhinos are very
    vulnerable,” noted Simon Milledge.”The greatest threat is habitat loss
    and the fragmentation of habitat; the threat of the horn trade is
    there, but it’s mainly habitat issues for those two species.”

    Arrest of two poacher in Nepal
    Many of Nepal’s large animals have been poached

    No peace dividend for wildlife
    voted through a resolution aimed at enhancing rhino protection through
    greater monitoring of both the animals and the horn trade, better
    co-operation between African range states, and an assessment of horn
    stockpiles.A Kenyan amendment that stockpiles should be destroyed was
    defeated.Earlier, another Kenyan proposal, to stop the annual export of
    five black rhino hunting trophies by Namibia and a further five by
    South Africa, was defeated. The exports had been approved at a previous
    CITES meeting, and South Africa says that its quota brings in nearly
    $1m per year which can be spent on conservation.Traffic is a joint
    programme of the conservation group WWF and the IUCN, which is famous
    for drawing up the Red Lists that document the status of the planet’s
    flora and fauna.