February 22nd, 2013 by Nicole Meyer
Africa’s elephants are being slaughtered at an alarming rate, poached for their tusks to meet a growing demand for ivory in Asia. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) approved a worldwide ban on the sale of ivory in 1989, then sanctioned two sales of stockpiles of ivory in 1999 and 2008. Today, poaching in some areas is the worst since the ban went into effect, decimating wild populations of elephants. In Gabon alone, poachers have killed more than 11,000 elephants in in recent years, representing two-thirds of the country’s elephants. Poachers carry large-caliber rifles to kill the elephants, then hack off their tusks with chainsaws, leaving behind the carcasses of entire families of elephants. This ivory is used to make jewelry, chopsticks, and other trinkets.
CITES is the governing body empowered to increase protection for elephants. Delegates will soon meet in Bangkok, Thailand for a convention starting March 3rd where they will discuss changes to existing laws.
Please urge your CITES representative to reject any future proposals for trade in ivory, support improved protection for elephants under CITES Appendix I (the greatest protection CITES offers), and return to the full ban on the sale of ivory established in 1989.
If you live in the U.S. please send a brief, polite email to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Department.
If you live outside of the U.S., please click here to identify the CITES representative for your country and corresponding email address.