Elephants “are in crisis” now, with 20,000 killed each year, animals rights organisations have been warning for years. In response to this dire situation, the EU has announced during the recent 18th Conference of the Parties (CoP18) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) that it plans to introduce new regulations to help combat the trade in ivory. No specific details of the proposed measures have yet been disclosed.
The “failure” of the EU – and Japan – to shut down their markets to the trade in ivory had also been strongly criticized by a coalition of 30 African countries in favor of elephant protection. The delegates at conference that was held in Switzerland from 17-28 August 2019 learned that elephants “are in crisis” with at least 20,000 being illegally killed each year for their ivory.
According to the official estimates, on average around 55 elephants are poached every day in Africa – equivalent to about one every 26 minutes.
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) says that current EU regulations “afford too many opportunities for criminals to pass off ivory from poached elephants as antiques and export to other markets around the world.” Matt Collis, head of the IFAW delegation at CITES, welcomed news that the EU proposes fresh action but urged “countries whose legal domestic markets remain open, particularly Japan and the EU, to close them as a matter of urgency, and hope they will be in a position to report back on such steps at the next CITES conference.” IFAW also believes that, until such markets are shut down, efforts to end the “poaching crisis” and stop criminal syndicates from trafficking ivory will be frustrated.