Ban on ivory trade good for East Africa

Monday April 5 2010

The recent decision at the Cites meet to prevent Tanzania from selling its ivory stockpile worth $20 million as a step in the right direction.

Had Tanzania been given the nod, not only would this have endangered the country’s jumbos but those of neighbouring countries like Mozambique and Kenya as well.

The recently released Briefing Report of the Panel of Experts on Ivory Trade by London and Tanzanian environmentalists, notes that Tanzania is the largest ivory trader in Africa on a scale surpassing China.

Additionally, large amounts of tusks from the country have been intercepted en-route to the East, who are the world largest users of ivory products.

Illegal trade ivory has fuelled poaching at its game reserves like the Selous in the south of the country.

Hence, the effects of allowing trade would spill over to the region considering that elephants roam freely from say Kenya’s Maasai Mara to Tanzania’s Serengenti National park.

Besides, the lack of tight security in the region as well as porous borders would encourage smuggling of tusks.

The only way to save the elephant from extinction is by adhering to the ban on the ivory trade.

This calls for concerted efforts from all nations around the globe.

Wildlife is not meant to benefit corrupt big cats only, but all citizens in the region.

Manuel Odeny
Maseno University