The United Nation’s Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Doha, Qatar rejected requests for a one-off sale of stockpiled ivory.
Many organizations were pessimistic about the future of ivory and elephant protection after CITES voted to permit the fishing of bluefin tuna, an endangered species, and failed to enhance polar bear protection measures. Robbie Marsland, UK Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said: “We are disappointed that the UK Government, and European Union member countries as a whole, have not gone into this meeting with a much stronger message against the ivory trade and in favor of elephant protection."
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported that angry marine conservationists, "are becoming so disillusioned with the Doha conservation conference they've started calling it "No-ha."
However, the Convention voted today "to not allow the one-off sales of ivory from government stockpiles in Tanzania and Zambia given the recent rise in elephant poaching in Africa," according to mongabay.com. Around the world, conservationists acknowledged this to be a significant victory of pachyderm preservationists.
Executive Director of WildlifeDirect Paula Kahumbu wrote approvingly of the decision on his blog:
It’s victory for conservationists world wide as CITES today voted no the proposal presented by Tanzania to weaken the 21-year ban on ivory sales. Many countries do not think that Tanzania can manage to sell ivory without it leading to a dramatic upsurge in elephant killings, after all, the country has been unable to control illicit trade in ivory and elephant poaching.
Despite the trade in ivory being banned in 1989 the elephant population has continued to decline, albeit less quickly than it once was. The Ottawa Citizen reports that, "elephant poaching is on the rise all over Africa.... U.S. conservationists estimate that 36,000 elephants were poached last year." Sierra Leone says it lost its last few elephants in November, leaving Africa with 36 rather than 37 elephant range states. Elephants are now extirpated in Sierra Leone, while populations in Senegal, Mali and Niger are on the brink of extinction.