The African elephant population faces a serious threat to their numbers, as Tanzania and Zambia are petitioning to lift bans that prevent the poaching and sale of ivory. Since 1989, countries at the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) voted to ban all sale of ivory, due to the massive slaughter of African elephants. In the 1980's, there were between 700,000 and 1,000,000 elephants killed for their tusks.
In 1997, pro-ivory trade groups forced countries to approve a decision in CITES that allowed a one-time exception to the ban on sales of stockpiled ivory. They claimed that the one-time sale would reduce the amount of demand for ivory, predominantly the demand coming from Asia. However, the sales experiment didn't work. From 1997 to 2007, due to the stockpile sales of ivory, poaching and seizures of illegal ivory began to rise. In Tanzania alone, the percentage of elephant mortality attributed to poaching rose from 22% in 2003 to 62% in 2009.
The fact that CITES can entertain lifting the ban of ivory poaching an absolute outrage! Over the past 30 years African elephants have declined to about 35% of their original numbers, and the population today is less than 500,000. To think that there would be a benefit to slaughtering innocent animals for immoral profit is an absolute joke. I can only pray that this ban doesn't get lifted, and we as a people will continue to do what we can to spread awareness and justice.
But that's just Tyson's Take.... what do you think?
- Steve Tyson Jr.
[for the entire article from "TIME Magazine" click here]