Namibia’s sale of wild elephants draws international condemnation | National Geographic

At a global summit in France on the international treaty to regulate the wildlife trade, several countries condemned Namibia’s recent sale and export of 22 wild African elephants.

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Namibia states that the country has more than 24,000 elephants and that selling the animals is necessary to avoid deadly confrontations with people and to raise funds for the conservation and management of wild animals. According to data provided by the Namibian government National Geographic After the handover, an elephant killed three people last year, and there have been numerous reports of crop destruction in recent years.

The United Kingdom, among other countries, has raised a number of questions about Namibia’s exports of elephants, which appear to be in violation of the international convention CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). That treaty states that African elephants from Namibia, among other places, may not be exported to a country where they have not previously been wild elephants or where they do not currently live, unless it is clearly beneficial to the conservation of the species.

Last year, the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) listed the African bush elephant as an endangered species, while the forest elephant was declared an endangered species. Decades of poaching for ivory have caused elephant numbers to plummet. There are now only 400,000 wild animals left in all of Africa.

In December 2020, Namibia sold 57 elephants to three separate bidders. Fifteen animals went to one of the highest shows, a nature reserve in the state itself. The other two came from outside.

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The Namibian government allowed National Geographic On February 15, the state cannot reveal details of the elephants’ final destination until “the whole process is complete”. The country must export another 20 elephants to meet the remaining obligations.

Namibia has not yet released anything about the destination of the elephants. The country states that it is up to buyers to disclose that information. However, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) recently announced in a statement that one of its members, Al Ain Zoo in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has purchased some of the animals. “We have no information on the number of elephants at this time, or an answer as to whether they have reached their destination,” the organization said in an email. National Geographic

The original auction documents stipulated that bidders must organize all logistics for elephant hunting and export, including young or young, and family groups must be kept together.

Where do elephants go?

WAZA recently told National Geographic Removing elephants from their wild habitats “without the legitimate need for conservation breeding, educational programs or basic biological research” would violate the organization’s Code of Ethics and Animal Welfare. According to WAZA, this is currently under investigation, and a violation of the policy could result in disqualification from the zoo.

Representatives of Al Ain Zoo, UAE and CITES responded to requests from National Geographic To comment on the destination country or countries. The Namibian government refuses to reveal who bought the elephants.

UK representatives from CITES at today’s meeting in Lyon demanded a “full statement” on how Namibian exports relate to the treaty and requested data that would allow the UAE to demonstrate that elephants will not be used for commercial purposes. In addition, they were asked about the beneficial effects that these exports could have on species conservation.

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Burkina Faso, Senegal and other countries have also spoken out against the international sale of animals. The representative of Burkina Faso said that we “regretted” these exports.

The representative of Namibia responded, “We would like to confirm that we have been very transparent about this sale. We have nothing to hide. According to the representative, Namibia issued licenses to export elephants only after it became clear that all requirements of national legislation and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora had been fulfilled.

The Geneva-based CITES secretariat has not taken any direct action against Namibia and said that members should be informed of any concerns regarding this matter in the future. “Parties involved in CITES have established guidelines on how to deal with parties that do not comply with trade agreements,” a CITES spokesperson said. National Geographic† Issues related to this should be brought before the CITES Standing Committee. This group of leaders checks that the rules of the agreement are generally observed.

Romeo Muyunda, a spokesperson for the Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forests and Tourism, recently refused to respond to new requests from National Geographic to export data. He only confirmed that the elephants had reached their destination. One elephant cow is not doing well, the ministry said in a statement on March 6, but it has not released any new information about the animal’s condition since then.

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While the 22 elephants were waiting for transport, at least two were born, but no information is known about the welfare of the young.

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This article was originally published in English at nationalgeographic.com

Megan Vasquez

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