Target: John E. Scanlon, Secretary General of CITES
Goal: Don’t fuel elephant poaching by allowing stockpiles of ivory to be sold legally.
Countries will be allowed to sell massive stockpiles of ivory collected from elephants that died of natural causes if a proposal by Zimbabwe and Namibia is accepted. Supporters of the sale say that it is supposed to undermine illegal poaching by flooding the ivory market with cheap, legal ivory. However, previous sales of legal ivory stockpiles have been linked to increases in the poaching of elephants.
While the trade of ivory has been illegal since 1989, recently buyers in China and Japan were allowed to buy 107 tonnes of ivory from four African nations for $15 million. According to researchers at UC Berkeley and Princeton, In the years that followed there was a permanent and significant increase in the number of elephants killed illegally across broad swathes of the world. Last year, an estimated 20,000 African elephants were killed illegally. That is greater than the number that were born. They cannot survive current levels of poaching, much less an increase.
The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is the organization that will determine the legality of the proposed sale. Without scrutiny and pressure to do otherwise, it may allow Zimbabwe and Namibia to sell their stockpiles, endangering an entire species. Demand that CITES Secretary General John Scanlon take a stand against the legal sale of ivory.
Dear Secretary General Scanlon,
I was disturbed to hear of proposals by the governments of Namibia and Zimbabwe that would allow them to sell stockpiles of ivory. It has been shown that previous sales have directly contributed to a geographically distributed, sustained, and significant increase in the poaching of African elephants. I urge you to do everything in your power to ensure that their proposals are rejected by CITES.
Last year, 20,000 African elephants were killed illegally, a number higher than estimated births. It is clear that poaching is threatening African elephants with extinction. Any move that would increase the number of elephants killed and therefore both guarantee and hasten their extinction should not be under consideration. I urge you as secretary general of CITES to make it clear that no sale of ivory can be good for the continued survival of elephants.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Vaughan Leiberum