Ivory is the base to create exquisite showpieces. However, there is a global ban on sale of raw ivory and some African countries want withdrawal of the ban. These are Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. They account for 61% of the continent’s elephants and their earlier request of 2016 fell through. Therefore, they want to appeal afresh in the next conference in Colombo. The stockpile of ivory with Zimbabwe is around $300m. It wants to sell this off to generate funds for conservation. It has a huge population of the animals and there are man-animal conflicts. This is because they venture into human territory in search of food and water. It seems 200 people have died in the past five years from such conflicts. Loss of crops is another problem with straying elephants. The country wants to exploit these resources because people are encroaching into game parks, forests and other ecosystems.
Options before Zimbabwe
It wants to use its elephants to generate funds. Firstly, it want to sell off the excess population. The country has made a start by selling 98 of them to China. Secondly, they want to sell off a huge stockpile of ivory. However, the existing ban on sale of ivory is a hindrance. Moreover, the El Niño-induced drought led to drying up of water bodies. That, in turn, threatened the survival of wildlife.
Botswana has its own problems
As far as Botswana is concerned, it also wants lifting of ban on hunting elephants. It wants hunting to remain out of the purview of the ban. Its logic is hunting would boost tourism and would simultaneously keep the numbers under control.
Kenya burned its stockpile of ivory
In 2016, Kenya set fire to 100 tonnes of ivory. There were eleven pyre of tusks from nearly 6000 elephants. Apart from tusks and ivory sculptures, there were confiscated rhino horn and the total value was in the region of $105m on the black market. The number of elephants killed every year for their tusks is nearly 30,000.