We have received the following email from Lucy King who is on the team representing STE and Kenya at the ongoing CoP15 CITES Conference in Doha, Qatar. We cannot express enough our joy at hearing that Tanzania and Zambia’s proposal have been defeated….!!
HUGE SUCCESS AT CITES!!! We are delighted to email you from the conference center in Doha to spread the news that both the Zambian and Tanzania elephant proposals to downlist their elephants from Appendix I to Appendix II and to sell their ivory have been DEFEATED at CITES CoP15 with important support from many countries from around the world. The tension in the room was incredible and there was some seriously upset delegates who were not allowed to talk etc etc but in the end the vote has gone our way and we are all elated. I was literally shaking from head to foot after the Tanzania vote, the high significance of the vote was not lost on anyone and I almost felt physically sick that we were about to see the opening of the ivory trade once and for all. The Kenya delegation has worked so hard and for many, many months to get this result and they should all be applauded for their efforts. The Kenya amended proposition to try to change the CoP14 wording of the agreement to stop any more proposals being submitted to down list was, however, rejected. This is a small disappointment as it means we could well be back here in 3 years with another down-listing proposal to battle but for now, it is a something that we are able to live with knowing that the ivory trade has not been opened again. We hope that the African Range States will follow the spirit of the agreement and remain with the 9 year proposed moratorium but I’m afraid that may be too much to hope for. Special credit must go to Iain, Joyce Poole and Sam Wasser who gave a very well attended presentation yesterday lunchtime to 350 delegates explaining the data problems behind the proposals, the consequence of poaching on elephant society and the DNA proof that Zambia and Tanzania were heavily implicated in multiple ivory seizures from around the world. This talk from such well respected scientists was an eye opener to many delegates who had not yet made up their mind on the vote. This should be seen as a major achievement by Save the Elephants to contribute science and years of data to the discussion within the largest international forum that there is for the trade and conservation of the African Elephant. Well done to all members of STE who have contributed to the data that Iain was able to present so clearly to the world. Best wishes from Qatar, Lucy