On the tenth and final day of the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii, after fierce debate including walkouts, shouting and more, there was a consensus for world governments to close domestic ivory markets for good, reports TruthDig. All of this in the name of conservation for Africa’s endangered elephants.
International ivory trade has been outlawed since 1989, but domestic trade was still legal in the United States, the United Kingdom, and China for antiques. This new vote urges world governments to outright ban the trading of ivory, including in antiques, and would be seen as a major win for elephants who are hunted and killed for their tusks that contain the precious ivory. Each government would need to have their own bill passed due to it being a domestic issue, but this was the first time that an international body assembled and came to this conclusion. Andrew Wetzler of the National Resources Defense Council believed that this was an important step forward.
“Today’s vote by IUCN members is the first time that a major international body has called on every country in the world to close its legal markets for elephant ivory. It’s truly a landmark moment, and a victory for elephants that will hopefully be repeated later this month at the next meeting of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Johannesburg.”
The IUCN believes that shuttering of domestic markets would send a strong message to traffickers that their products would be nearly impossible to push. This is an important step forward for conservation of Africa’s elephants.