HomeNewsGovernment tightens ivory trade controls

Government tightens ivory trade controls

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THE government has ordered licenced domestic ivory traders to stop issuing Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) export documents after it emerged that some traders were using them to facilitate the smuggling of raw ivory.
The announcement was made through the Cites Secretariat in Notification to the Parties No. 20010/024 of 16 August 2010. The directive says those wishing to take ivory carvings out of the country were now required to seek permission from the Cites Management Authority of Zimbabwe to obtain an export permit.
Before the directive was issued, the Short Export Permit was issued by Cites Management Authority of Zimbabwe to licenced curio traders who could give the document to customers when they purchased ivory products for non-commercial purposes.
The holder of a Short Export Permit was then required to get the endorsement of a customs officer in order for one to be entitled to leave the country with any legally-purchased ivory carvings.
“The move to strengthen ivory trade controls in Zimbabwe comes in the wake of documented abuse where un-worked elephant tusks were offered for import into other countries illegally using the Short Export Permits,” said Vitalis Chadenga, director general of Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority in a statement.
Zimbabwe was authorised to trade in ivory carvings for non-commercial purposes in 1997 when the country’s elephant population was transferred to Appendix II of the Convention.
The decision, however, did not allow trade in raw ivory which was never intended to be covered by the Short Export Permit system.
“Zimbabwe believes in sustainable and legal wildlife trade, but we will not tolerate unscrupulous individuals who abuse the system,” said Chadenga.
“We are committed to curtailing any illegal trade in ivory from our country and we request the co-operation of the global community to help us achieve that objective”.
Zimbabwe has the third largest elephant population in Africa with nearly 100 000 elephants.
Kenya and Botswana are the other two countries with a high elephant population.

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