BY Business Reporter
Zimbabwe is sitting on ivory and rhino horn stocks worth US$600 million and is considering disposing it to fund conservation efforts, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
“Currently, Zimbabwe has about US$600 million worth of ivory and rhino horns stocks, most of which is from natural attrition of those animals. If we are allowed to dispose the same under agreed to parameters, the revenue derived therefrom would suffice to finance our operational (and) conservation efforts for the next 20 years,” Mnangagwa said yesterday at the African Union-United Nations Wildlife Economy summit currently underway in Victoria Falls.
Zimbabwe, together with Namibia, Zambia and Botswana, have been pushing for amendments to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which prohibits the sale of ivory to curb poaching, arguing that the restriction had spurred poaching instead.
“Zimbabwe subscribes to the founding principles of CITES. We remain committed to the adherence of its protocols and rules. We are (however) gravely concerned by the one-size fits all approach, where banning of trade is creeping into the CITES decision-making processes. We call upon the institution to resist the temptation of being a ‘policing institution’ and instead be a developmental one which promotes the intricate balance between conservation and sustainable utilisation of all wildlife resources. Going forward, Zimbabwe encourages a world that embraces the principle of a shared responsibility where natural resources are utilised in accordance with the principle of sustainability,” he said.
At 84 000, Zimbabwe’s elephant population is twice its carrying capacity, triggering serious human-wildlife conflict.
“We welcome partners and investors to optimally manage and unlock value from our wildlife towards helping build ‘nature-based economies’. As a government, we will continuously ensure a conducive operating environment for wildlife management and conservation,” Mnangagwa added.
“As you are aware, safari hunting is a vital cog in successful wildlife economies. Proceeds obtained from hunting are reinvested towards the provision of game water, fencing and law enforcement, among other conservation initiatives,” he said.