DSWF Senior adviser speaks up at EC Stakeholders Workshop

Last Friday, Robert Hepworth, DSWF Senior Advisor  and former chair of the CITES Standing Committee, spoke at the EC Stakeholders Workshop in Brussels regarding the position of elephants in Africa. Robert conveyed that the position still “remains grave” and although poaching levels have decreased slightly in isolated locations, poaching has increased in Central Africa and Elephant numbers are still deteriorating at unsustainable levels.

DSWF are fighting for the closure of import, export and internal ivory markets within the EU. The UK Government have also committed to banning the sale of ivory to halt this demand and help stop the world’s elephants being driven to extinction. Please add your name here, before December 29th, to let the Government know that you support a ban on ivory sales.

The closure of ivory markets is what the underlying treaty governing trade in wildlife, CITES, now requires. At the previous conference, CoP16, CITES agreed that ivory markets that contribute to poaching or the illegal trade are to be “closed as a matter of urgency.” DSWF believe that exemptions must be kept to an absolute minimum and that it is “wholly justifiable and ethical that art and antique traders, connoisseurs and consumers share in the overdue sacrifices now needed to make sure that these iconic species survive.” Once Chinese and Hong Kong domestic markets are shut, the European market will be the largest in the world. It’s a market that stimulates the illegal demand and provides an outlet for poached ivory to be directly traded within Europe.

“In conclusion the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation believes it is no longer a question of whether to close the market in Europe, but how to do so. The EU can set a good example by acting firmly to do so as soon as possible.”