World Elephant Day 2019 is all about perseverance. This past year, we have seen a tremendous public support in raising awareness for the protection of elephants. Last year for World Elephant Day 2018 , we celebrated a handful victories that gave elephant lovers a much needed spark of hope. As the result of a small wave of legislative change around the world, we have further chipped away at the ivory trade. The U.K. announced a ban on ivory. Taiwan announced plans to implement bans by 2020. Along with Hong Kong who promised to do so by 2021. In addition, China continues to implement their ban on ivory commerce, which was put in place in December of 2017.
Although the news in 2018 was promising, in order to secure a safer future for elephants, more is needed to be done. Conservationists, law enforcement and elephant advocates across the globe continue to persevere and push for better protection and stricter legislation. World Elephant Day 2019 is no different, we must come together to be a voice for elephants. There are ways you too, can fight for elephants this World Elephant Day!
Following the worst poaching crisis in decades, experts are now reporting the overall poaching mortality rate is down. An article published in May 2019 by the Nature Communications Journal states that poaching rates have declined from 10% to 4%. This reduction in poaching is a result of increased efforts in enforcement and awareness campaigns. In addition, price drops on ivory in China most likely played a role in the decline.
Despite these recent findings, elephants continue to be killed by poachers at an unsustainable rate for the elephant population. On World Elephant Day 2019, we must celebrate the positive achievements and acknowledge the next steps in saving elephants. As the article also suggests, the only way to further diminish poaching is to take serious action. Action that includes ongoing law enforcement efforts, improving poverty levels, ending corruption, and stopping the demand for ivory.
ZIMBABWE, Revealed in the beginning of 2019 : Zimbabwe profited nearly $3 million dollars by selling elephants to China & Dubai over a six year period.
BOTSWANA, May 2019 : The Botswana government lifted its ban on elephant trophy hunting after only 5 years. Their reasoning was to curb the overpopulation of elephants causing human-elephant conflict as they have moved closer to local communities. However, a report published on the aerial surveillance of Botswana’s elephant population proved that poaching was on the rise. Once a safe-haven for elephants, Botswana was now experiencing the heartbreaking realities of the ivory industry.
JAPAN, July 2019 : Though the effects are controversial, Japan now requires anyone who wishes to register and sell a whole ivory tusk to have it carbon-dated to prove its age. The idea is to keep any tusks acquired after 1990 out of Japan’s large and poorly regulated domestic ivory market. However, this does not apply to cut or carved ivory or to any stockpiles registered before July 1, 2019.
CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES (CoP18) – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), August 2019 : Every few years, the parties of CITES convene to review progress and consider provisions in regards to international wildlife trade laws. This years meeting is set to take place in Geneva, Switzerland later this month. Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and Angola are among the nations who have submitted proposals to lift the bans on trophy hunting and the ivory trade at the CoP18 meeting. Their arguments are based on claims of elephant overpopulation, human-elephant conflicts, and financial gain. Hopes are that CITES will uphold and strengthen the protection of elephants. Also to require these nations to become an active part of conserving Africa’s elephant population by ending the ivory trade.
When it comes to elephants, all of us at Capture Africa Tours believes that eco-tourism is key to protecting and saving wildlife. Our tours are designed to explore Africa while supporting and advocating for wildlife conservation. There is no greater gift than to experience the natural beauty of wild Africa and we are grateful to share it with others through responsible travel. See what our guests are saying about traveling with Capture Africa Tours! H. Ignacio shared her experience with CAT in her article, “How to Support Elephant Conservation on Safari”. Read her traveler testimonial here!