Namibia on Wednesday said closing the legal ivory domestic market will put a serious threat on elephants.
Speaking at the COP 18 CITES meeting currently taking place in Geneva, Namibian Environment Minister Pohamba Shifeta said closing the legal domestic market does not mean that there will be no demand for the product.
“…in fact those who used to get it legally will try by all means to get it from illegal suppliers and this will have serious negative impact on elephant population as this will only incentivise the criminals in the illegal market to satisfy the demands,” Shifeta said in a statement released by his office.
He said Namibia disagreed with the proposals brought forward by countries such as Kenya, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria and others to end domestic ivory trade and close the domestic market for trophies.
These countries have proposed that the European Union end ivory trade in a bid to save the endangered species.
“The proponents have not demonstrated their claim that all domestic ivory markets are linked to illegal killing and trade,” Shifeta said.
An estimated 20,000 African elephants are killed by poachers every year due to their ivory whose demand has spiked in the emerging economies. Enditem