Stricter rules against trade of a number of endangered species will be discussed at an international meeting in South Africa which starts Saturday.
Lions, tigers, rhinos, elephants, sharks and numerous other species will be discussed at the meeting in Johannesburg where almost every country is participating.
The situation for many of the species has become worse because of growing demand for exotic animals and their body parts in Asian countries where the population is becoming richer. In China and other Asian countries used body parts from tigers, rhinos and other endangered animals is used in traditional medicine.
In addition there is a large market for luxury items made of carved ivory.
The elephant population is plummeting
20 million elephants may have lived in Africa before the Europeans took control of the continent. In the 1970s, it is estimated that the number had fallen to 1 million.
A new study involving 18 African countries, showed that they only have 350,000 savanna elephants now. And each year, approximately 30,000 are killed by poachers.
Despite the rapidly decreasing number Zimbabwe and Namibia wish for exemptions from the ban on trade in ivory.
Zimbabwe has 96000 tonnes left in stock of ivory, which can be sold in Vietnam and China for over $ 1,000 per kilogram. Zimbabwean authorities hope to improve the country’s crisis-hit economy if they are allowed to sell their tusks.
But Zimbabweans are facing stiff resistance from 29 other African countries that will have the strictest possible ban on trade in ivory.
– Catastrophic situation
Another species to be discussed at the meeting in Johannesburg, the parrot gray jako. It is clever at mimicking human voices, which has made it a sought-after pet.
– Grey jako have been popular at all times. A few years ago they began to restrict exports, but the illegal trade has made the situation now catastrophic, says Mats Forslund of WWF.
To get control of the situation, a total ban will be proposed on all trade with this species at the meeting in Johannesburg. The meeting, which lasts until October 5th, is formally a conference of countries that have signed the agreement CITES on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Rhinos and tigers, which are also on the agenda in Johannesburg, are threatened by poachers who sell their body parts for use in traditional medicine in Asia. Nose Hornets horn are traded illegally for over 800,000 kroner per kilogram – more than both gold and cocaine.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today