NAMIBIA will back a proposal by Tanzania and Zambia to be allowed to conduct a one-off ivory auction, a top official in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism said yesterday, according to the Namibian.
“We will support Tanzania and Zambia’s proposal because it is in line with our philosophy of utilising our natural resources sustainably,” said Dr Kalumbi Shangula, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary.
Other African countries, led by Kenya and Mali, are expected to oppose the proposals at the next meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) in March.
Tanzania and Zambia are also calling for their elephant populations to be down-listed from Cites Appendix I, which prohibits all trade in animal and plant species, to Appendix II, which allows trade if it is monitored.
On Monday, British paper The Independent reported that Kenya, Mali and other African countries opposed to the ivory sales were sending representatives to Brussels this week to urge the European Union not to support Tanzania and Zambia’s proposals.
They fear that any resumption of ivory sales could lead to more African elephants being slaughtered by poachers.
Some conservationists argue that any ivory trade creates a market in which illegal poached ivory can be laundered, thus boosting demand for it.
If Tanzania and Zambia are allowed to have a one-off ivory sale, it would be the third since the world ban came into force in 1989, after the wholesale killing of elephants in the 1980s.
Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa were allowed to have one-off ivory sales after Cites was convinced that their elephant herds had increased due to their strict conservation measures.