Will Tanzania Destroy Seized Ivory Stockpiles?

Kenyan Prime Minister Mr. Raila Odinga is recommending that Tanzania destroy their stockpiles of ivory.  Tanzania petitioned CITES in March to allow them to sell ivory stockpiles to the Asian market, but CITES refused citing the escalating poaching problem in Tanzania and saying the government was not doing a good enough job deterring poachers.  Mr. Odinga says that in the 1990s when Kenya was trying to really clamp down on poaching they destroyed stockpiles of seized ivory; he is adamant about this demand as he feels that the poaching of elephants in Tanzania that cross back and forth across the Tanzanian-Kenyan border is negatively impacting the tourism trade in Kenya.  Tanzanian officials, however, are accusing Kenya, and Mr. Odinga in particular, of working against East African Solidarity, which Mr. Odinga strongly denies.

Rooms full of seized elephant tusks in Tanzania

Two recently removed, bloody tusks left behind by poachers

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3 Responses to “Will Tanzania Destroy Seized Ivory Stockpiles?”

  1. I remember well, when Kenya burned their stockpile of ivory. The conservation world cheered. All of the supporters of those many conservation organizations heard the cheers and fully understood the deeper meaning and importance of destroying the ivory stockpile.

    The goodwill and positive sentiment that endeavor created, was worth (in the long run) far more than the monetary value of the destroyed ivory. Kenya is perceived by the world as heroes of “the cause” by making such a dramatic physical statement.

    In contrast, what is the perception conveyed by the nations who reject the concept of destroying ivory stockpiles, and continue to lobby for a sell-off for a “fast buck” profit?

    This world-wide harsh economic climate has caused somewhat of a downturn in tourism, and those fewer travelers who choose to spend their tourist dollars will go to the places in Africa that they admire and respect. A sell-off of ivory is a one-time profit, whereas tourism is a very long term (and very profitable) business.

    A nation cannot buy respect, it is earned by the deeds and philosophies of that nation and their leaders. While a single human may look at fast profits as desirable, a nation desiring maximum revenue simply must look at the long range effects of their actions.

    So, while we fully understand Tanzania’s motives and need for immediate revenue, we must question their wisdom in losing the respect of the conservation world, and the millions of conservation supporters who are indeed those who make up the ranks of “African tourism”.

  2. Anne Maher Says:

    We must back Mr. Odinga. Kenya has earned respect for it’s intelligent, humane and farsighed decisions and thinking. My personal experience with the people of Kenya, they too want the protection of their wildlife and the further development of tourism. It has long term benefits for all the people. It’s a pity the members of CITIES do not simply compensate the couple of countries who want to sell their stockpiles, once only, and then further strengthen the complete ban on any collection of Ivory whatsoever, Elephant or Rhino. If the funds raised are not used for elephant conservation, come down on them hard – & do not trust them again. Kenya is my only destination in Africa , by MY choice. Their natural, free wildlife far surpasses that of most others. Support them in their very difficult task.

  3. To reinforce the points made in my previous post (not sure this will create a link, so copy/paste if needed)

    http://thecitizen.co.tz/news/51-other-news/1856-officials-say-tanzanias-image-soiled.html

    Officials say Tanzania’s image ‘soiled’

    Senior government officials have admitted that Tanzania’s image abroad has been dented by the continued seizure of large quantities of animal trophies in various parts of the world.

    The indiscriminate killing of animals by poachers was also undermining the country’s conservation efforts, they said. They therefore called for intensified anti-poaching operations involving all law enforcement agencies.

    Mr Edward Kishe, the acting director general of the Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa), said here that the illegal trade in wild fauna and flora posed a major threat to some of the country’s wildlife resources.
    (Cont’d)

    ————

    An interesting article concerning public perception, and the impact it has on tourism and conservation program support. No photo-tourist wants to go “on safari” and see dead ellies with their tusks hacked off and faces mutilated. Major conservation organizations are not eager to work with a government who who is perceived as being in league with poachers.

    Selling ivory perpetuates the marketplace, regardless who the seller is. Whether an illegal trader or government condoned auction, the results are the same.

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