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THE BIG IVORY DEBATE: To sell or not sell

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Geza Ulole, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. G

    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

    Jan 30, 2010
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    THE BIG IVORY DEBATE: To sell or not sell[​IMG]'Tanzania's positive image that has been built through investment of millions of shillings will go to waste if we are branded as supporting activities that promote poaching' Chairman of Zanzibar Association of Tourism Investors (Zati) Mr Mohammed SimaiInvestors are raising the red flag as some foreign government and conservations and animal rights groups intensify a campaign to tighten the noose on trophy smuggling

    By Tom Mosoba

    A seemingly innocent and procedural proposal by the government to sell 90 tonnes of its ivory stockpiles has taken an unexpected twist that could return to haunt the nation in the long run.

    Keen on pushing through with the sale to raise an estimated $15 million in much needed revenues, the government has, however, come under severe criticism that is threatening the country's image in the international arena.

    Interestingly, even though Zambia has made a similar proposal, it is Tanzania that has attracted much of the scrutiny, with influential media in the UK and US accusing the country of seeking to abet elephant poaching and illegal trade in banned trophy.

    Alarmed by the negative portrayal in the campaign to block Tanzania and Zambia, tourism investors are warning that the matter could destabilise the fledging tourism sector.

    The investors are raising the red-flag as some foreign governments and conservation and animal rights groups converge on a platform to intensify calls to tighten the noose on ivory trade and smuggling to stop elephant poaching.

    The chairman of the Zanzibar Association of Tourism Investors (Zati) Mr Mohammed Simai says that the campaign will impede Tanzania's efforts in recent years to promote tourism, including game viewing in prominent national game reserves like Selous, Serengeti and Ngorongoro.

    "As private investors in tourism, we are foreseeing problems in this push to sell ivory. The choice of our game reserves as preferred destinations by high end tourists from the UK and US will be undermined by campaigns linking the country with elephant killing and smuggling," warned Mr Simani.

    He told The Citizen that Zati members on Wednesday wrote to the Union and Zanzibar Governments to urge for shelving of the proposal to sell the 90 tonnes of ivory for the sake of avoiding negative publicity that will hurt the industry.

    "We are urging President Jakaya Kikwete to intervene and stop the move to sell the ivory,"Mr Simani said in a telephone interview from Zanzibar. He said the furore that followed the revelation did not portend well with tourism promotion and regional trade objectives.

    He said Zati as a member of the Tourism Confederation of Tanzania (TCT) has forwarded its concerns to the agency and demanded that prudent decisions to safeguard the country's tourism image be taken over the ivory saga.

    "Some international environmental and animal protection campaigners are already sending warnings that Tanzania risked blacklisting as a preferred game viewing spot if it pushed through the sale of seized elephant tusks," cautioned Mr Simani.

    The TCT executive secretary Mr Richard Rugimbana confirmed on Wednesday that the body had held a meeting of members over the matter but said no concrete outcome had been reached.

    "We are still consulting and have not come to a common position with the many other authorities involved," Mr Rugimbana said.

    Mr Simani warned that the tourism sector that was recovering from a decline caused by the global economic crisis last year does not deserve another round of controversy. "I urge the government to act on the long term interest of this vital sector and drop its case at the Cites meeting," he said.

    The Zati chairman noted that the $15 million envisaged from the sale was a drop in the sea compared to potential tourism arrival loses were campaigners to dissuade visitors from touring due to poaching and smuggling concerns. Tanzania earned $1.3 billion (Sh1.6 trillion) in 2008 from 642,000 tourists to account for 17.2 per cent of the GDP.

    �What we are doing is digging a well while we are still in a hole. Tanzania�s positive image that has been achieved through investment of millions of shillings is bound to suffer if we are branded as supporting activities that promote poaching,� said Mr Simani adding that Zanzibar would lose heavily because 30 per cent of foreigners who end there were game viewing tourists.

    The call by Zati, is the first local opposition to the move by the government and coincided with a visit by a delegation from the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) to assess if the country deserved a stockpile trade window.

    Cites was established to check practices that threatened endangered animals species across the world and in 1989 banned the sale and trade in ivory to protect the African Elephant whose population was under siege from marauding poachers. A growing demand for ivory in Japan and China was blamed for fuelling a smuggling syndicate worldwide.

    But arguing that its elephant population was safe and on the rise, the government has asked Cites to allow controlled trade in legal ivory exports. The application alongside that of Zambia would be decided at the Cites conference in Qatar in March.

    Tourism and Natural Resources minister Ms Shamsa Mwangunga has indicted that the government would match on with it agenda. She noted that the sale proceeds would be used in conservation efforts and help fight poaching.

    But her stance has attracted opposition from East Africa Community partners Kenya and Rwanda, and angered several other western countries and conservation groups that are campaigning to block an approval by Cites.

    Britain's Environmental Secretary Mr Hilary Benn declare on Monday that UK will vote against Tanzania and Zambia at the Doha conference after pilling pressure from Members of Parliament and the media.

    The 'Times' this week wrote "Tanzania has established itself as the leading country for the illegal slaughter and export of ivory."It reported that up to 50 elephants were killed every month at Selous national reserve, and "the authorities are torching the carcasses to cover it up."

    It also quoted a DNA research that established that recent seizures of smuggled trophy were from Tanzania�s elephant species.

    Other countries that have called for a 20 years ban as the strongest possible international moratorium on trade in ivory at last week's Brussels meeting ahead of the Qatar conference include Mali, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Republic of Congo and Government of Southern Sudan.

    Namibia is the only country that has openly declared support for the proposal. "We will support Tanzania and Zambia�s proposal because it is in line with our philosophy of utilising our natural resources sustainably," Dr Kalumbi Shangula, the Environment and Tourism Permanent Secretary was reported as saying.

    Washington based Species Survival Network (SSN) and Humane Society International, a protectionist charity also based in the US protested a new trade window would boost poaching and fuel illegal trade in trophy around the world.


    2nd February 10
    Namibia backs Tanzania in ivory sale row with Kenya

    The Guardian Reporter

    The row over ivory sales deepened with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), a government agency, saying here Friday that Namibia had thrown its weight behind Tanzanian and Zambian proposals for one-off sale of their elephant tusks stockpiles.
    In a statement, obtained by PANA, KWS said the decision by Southern African elephant range states was ill timed, as it would scale up poaching and illegal trafficking in ivory products.
    KWS Assistant Director and Head of Species Conservation, Patrick Omondi, said the proposal lined up for deliberations during the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna/Flora at 15th Conference of
    Parties (COP15) to be held in Doha, Qatar, would escalate the decimation of elephants and rhinos by illegal trophy hunters.
    'The medium-term survival of the African elephant is on the line and this is no time for the European Union to take a low-key stance. We expect them to do the right thing,' Omondi said as Kenya intensified resistance that has already enlisted the support of the UK and expect similar responses from mainly members of the EU, who Nairobi accused of prevarication.
    Namibia announced on Friday it would vote with Tanzania and Zambia during the Doha conference.
    "We will support Tanzania and Zambia's proposal because it is in line with our philosophy of utilising our natural resources,' said Dr Columbia Shingle, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
    The Namibia position is likely to be the stand of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to which both Tanzania and Zambia belong.
    The rift between the African Elephant Coalition (AEC), a grouping of 37 countries, widened as a UN panel overseeing CITES began the inspection of Tanzania's ivory stockpile, which the government intends to auction.
    Tanzania's Natural Resources and Tourism deputy minister, Ezekiel Maige, had earlier told the local press that CITES officials were working with local wildlife experts on how the country could sell off about 90 tonnes of ivory that had been stored for about two decades. Zambia's quantity is 23 tonnes.
    Maige said the disposal of the ivory stockpile was necessitated by high costs of its security, saying it is 'unbearably high and storage facilities are hard to come by'.
    Among the countries opposed to the proposal of the move by Tanzania and Zambia are Congo, DR Congo, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.
    Omondi maintained the Kenyas position that has not changed since 1986 when the elephant was up-listed to CITES Appendix I, a category of species threatened with extinction.
    Appendix II is the category of endangered species but in which controlled utilization is permitted under international trade mechanisms.
    The KWS director said gruesome, deadly poaching was in full resurgence all across Africa on account of recent sales of ivory, approved by CITES for some southern African states, providing perfect cover for the unlawful trade in poached ivory to on.
    "It is out of the question that the international community countenance renewed sales of ivory in the next 15 to 20 years when elephant populations are literally about to go extinct in countries like Sierra Leone and Chad.

  2. G

    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

    Jan 30, 2010
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    I don't see any thruth in this careless written article! Can the writter who seem to be Kenyan (if not mistaken) tell us, at what percent did the tourism in Namibia, South Africa fell when they sold their ivory stocks? and what are those many US, UK media is he claiming here? Why this unnecessary bad campaigns against a sovereignity country that allow hunting and followed all the proper channels within international laws to sell its thropies it has accumulated since 1978 for a restoration purpose?
  3. bona

    bona JF-Expert Member

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    hatimaye rais wetu amekuja na plan ya ku rise fund as we all know he never had any new project for increasing government revenue for his five yr in office, and how about that, selling ivory from illegal poarching! jk is very funny guy, how on earth you are selling the ivory of innocent elephants, is that how we want to show the world that we are creating new source of revenue for the government?
  4. G

    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

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    What do you mean illegal poarching? Most of the tusks come from culling and we need culling to control the population of the elephants otherwise they will be a disaster to the people around the parks! and for those few tusks that came from arrest carried out from poarchers i still see no problem from selling them using CITES since they won't get the the revenues that they were to get through black markets unless you prove to me a sell ban for ivory through CITES means no poarching at all and no black market for the ivory, you have no point!
  5. Smatta

    Smatta JF-Expert Member

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    Re read what you have just written.. you cant be serious
  6. G

    Geza Ulole JF-Expert Member

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    Who else whistle blow the issue if not Kenya, simple minded people what has your no hunting rules got to do with as with our hunting rules? you have even been assured that the tusks won't be from the shared wildlife resources of which spend less than quarter of their life time in Kenya (Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem)!
  7. bona

    bona JF-Expert Member

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    what we want to avoid is once they are sold, another bunch of ivory will come out claimed to be from illegal poarchers and culling, trend will go on, the idea of not seeling at all will shut the door even to the dishonest corrupt officials! the only reason the population of elephants has stabilise and now it even become unsastainable in selou is due to not for sell, no buying policy, now once this butch is sold, watch out for the decline.
    i am totally against the government move which will brand the country a name of, poarchers tanzania.
    what is more irritating to me is cant this government come with new sources of incomes apart from these shameful acts!
  8. Wacha1

    Wacha1 JF-Expert Member

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    Nani kakwambia hii ni project ya rais?

    JK hajakaa miaka mitano unahesabu vipi?

    Umetumwa au umelogwa?

    Nani kakwambia hizo zote ni kutokana na illegal poaching?

    Umetathmini vipi? Tangu lini Tembo wakawa innocent?

    Hatuna sababu yoyote ya kuonyesha ulimwengu kitu chochote upo hapo?

    Wanyama ni wa kuliwa unaishi Tanzania ipi? Au kwa vile mzungu kasema na wewe unadandia tu?