African Elephant: Proposal 5 | WWF

African Elephant: Proposal 5

 
	© WWF / Martin Harvey
African elephants on the move.
© WWF / Martin Harvey

Proposal: 5
Proponent: Botswana
Summary of Proposal: Amendment of the annotation to the population of Botswana to read as follows:

"For the exclusive purpose of allowing in the case of the population of Botswana:

  1. trade in hunting trophies for non-commercial purposes;
  2. trade in hides for commercial purposes;
  3. trade in leather goods for commercial purposes;
  4. trade in live animals for commercial purposes to appropriate and acceptable destinations (and as determined by the national legislation of the country of import);
  5. trade annually in registered stocks of raw ivory (whole tusks and pieces of not more than 8 tonnes) of Botswana origin owned by the Government of Botswana for commercial purposes only with trading partners that have been certified by the Secretariat, in consultation with the Standing Committee, to have sufficient national legislation and domestic trade controls to ensure that the imported ivory will not be re-exported and will be managed in accordance with the requirements of Res Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP12) concerning manufacturing and trade; and
  6. trade in registered stocks of raw ivory (whole tusks and pieces of not more than 40 tonnes) of Botswana origin owned by the Government for commercial purposes on a one-off sale immediately after the adoption of the proposal. Botswana will trade only with trading partners that have been certified by the Secretariat, in consultation with the Standing Committee, to have sufficient national legislation and domestic trade controls to ensure that the imported ivory will not be re-exported and will be managed in accordance with the requirements of Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP12) concerning manufacturing and trade."
WWF position Trophies, hides and leather goods: SUPPORT
  Commercial trade in live animals: PENDING further clarifications or amendments by the government of Botswana
  Annual export quota of ivory: OPPOSE
  One-off sale in ivory: CONDITIONAL SUPPORT
For WWF's full position, including the rationale and further information, please see page 7 in WWF Positions CITES COP14. Download PDF (3.6 MB | 48 pages)

Why is WWF supporting some and opposing other parts of this proposal?

• Trophies and hides

WWF supports the proposed wording as it reflects no change from the current annotation for the Botswana population of African elephants

 

• Leather goods

WWF supports Botswana’s request to trade commercially in leather products, but would encourage the Government of Botswana to reinvest the benefits from such trade in elephant conservation.

Such an annotation currently exists for South Africa, and WWF is unaware of any detrimental impacts, or increased poaching or illegal trade due to trade pursuant to this annotation.

• Commercial trade in live animals

Current status: Botswana is allowed to export live animals for in situ conservation programmes only

Requested change: Permission to commercially export live elephants

WWF's request: The proposal does not state the purpose behind the requested commercial exports, however WWF understands from the Government of Botswana that the primary intent of the annotation is to allow trade in live animals to other range States to re-populate areas in the species’ historic range (which would not necessarily qualify as for primarily commercial purposes). This could potentially involve both State-owned and privately owned land. WWF considers it preferable that such trade meets the objectives of a national or sub-regional management strategy in both the exporting and importing Parties.

The IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group (AfESG) has issued guidelines for the translocation of elephants within their historical range to prevent genetic mixing and achieve long-term viability. WWF would recommend that Botswana follow these guidelines when permitting exports.

In light of the above considerations, WWF requests further clarification from the government of Botswana on its intent with this annotation (as to whether it is really for primarily commercial purposes) and suggests that the proposed annotation be amended to be in line with the IUCN AfESG guidelines and views.

• Annual export quota of ivory

As explained for Proposal 4, WWF believes that any annual export quotas of ivory should not be approved until:
  • the CITES Parties have decided that the conditions for the CoP12-approved sale have been met
  • that sale has occurred, and
  • a period of time (e.g. one CoP cycle) has passed to enable the Parties to consider if there is a correlation between these legal sales and detrimental impact on other elephant populations (through further ETIS and MIKE reports). This is particularly appropriate given the escalating trend in illegal ivory trade, as evidenced by the ETIS analysis.

• One-off sale in ivory

Request: Approval of a one-off sale in ivory under similar conditions to the CoP12-approved sale.

WWF's concern: The CoP12-approved sale is yet to occur and baseline MIKE data is not established. WWF would not support the occurrence of any one-off sale until this baseline in place, as agreed by previous meetings of the CoP. We note that to include this condition in paragraph 6 could be interpreted to be broadening the scope of the proposal, which is not permitted.

Conditions for WWF support: WWF would support Botswana’s request for a larger one-off sale, as outlined in paragraph 6 if it is combined with the shipment for the CoP-12 approved sale (which is subject to the MIKE baseline data being in place), when it occurs.

WWF understands that, as with the ivory in the CoP12-approved sale, the ivory in any larger one-off sale that may be approved at CoP14 would be sourced from government-owned stockpiles only. We understand it would also come from natural elephant mortalities and management decisions within Botswana, and in addition, is from one of the largest elephant populations in Africa. Increasing the volume of an already approved sale at this time should help ensure a greater investment in elephant conservation through increased sale revenue.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Donate to WWF

Your support will help us build a future where humans live in harmony with nature.

Enter Yes if you accept the terms and conditions
Enter Yes if you accept the terms and conditions