ZIMBABWE and Namibia have both failed to secure a UN permission to export ivory, in secret ballots held on Monday.

Namibia’s bid lost 73 to 27 while Zimbabwe lost 80 to 21.

The two SADC countries had argued that trade in ivory seized from poachers and in tusks from dead animals would protect elephants but the U.N.’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) rejected the proposals.

“African elephants are in steep decline across much of the continent due to poaching for their ivory, and opening up any legal trade in ivory would complicate efforts to conserve them,” said Ginette Hemley, the head of the CITES delegation for conservation group WWF, according to Reuters.
“It could offer criminal syndicates new avenues to launder poached ivory, undermining law enforcement.”

In 1999, Zimbabwe, alongside Botswana and Namibia, were allowed to sell ivory to Japan despite a global ban imposed a decade earlier. South Africa was to be permitted to sell to China in 2008.

Zimbabwe and Namibia hoped to raise money for conservation through the sale. They also argued that there were too many elephants and that there was constant conflict between the animals and humans.

According to reports, Zimbabwe has got 70 tonnes of ivory estimated to be worth $35 million, a sum president Robert Mugabe’s cash-strapped government desperately needs.

Credit: All Africa