The poaching of elephants has reached unprecedented levels, threatening their survival past our generation. In the face of this crisis, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee added their support to 75 Canadian and international conservationists, scientists, politicians and animal welfare organizations to urge the Canadian government to close its domestic elephant ivory trade.
Every year approximately 20,000 African elephants are killed for their tusks. It is estimated there were 12 million elephants Africa in the early 1900s. Today there are less than 400,000. That is a 97% decline in a century. Asian elephants are even more endangered with only 30,000 to 40,000 left. Conservationists and scientists agree that the world’s largest land animal will disappear in the wild within our lifetime if demand for ivory is not reduced.
The Elephant Sanctuary recognizes the current crisis and supports the closure of all domestic elephant ivory markets in order to support long-term conservation of this iconic keystone species.
Elephanatics, a Canadian elephant advocacy organization based in Vancouver, is urging the Canadian government to join a growing number of countries who have closed their domestic markets.
“The Canadian government has a unique opportunity to play a leadership role in elephant conservation by closing its domestic trade in elephant ivory, thereby eliminating all legal loopholes. Ignoring this opportunity would put Canada at odds with the growing international movement to save elephants from extinction," says Fran Duthie, the President of non-profit Elephanatics.
Recent precedents in closing domestic ivory markets include: the United States who announced a near-total ban on interstate ivory trade in August 2016; China who stunned the world by banning domestic trade at the end of 2017; and the United Kingdom who recently solicited feedback on a proposed domestic ivory trade ban which indicated 85% of the British public supported it. In January 2018, Hong Kong’s legislature voted in favour of banning all ivory sales by 2021. Taiwan will soon announce a ban on domestic ivory sales starting in 2020. Singapore is considering a full ban.
The Elephant Sanctuary co-signed Elephanatics’ letter which was sent to the Canadian government today. Dozens of other concerned groups signed including Humane Society International, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Born Free, African Wildlife Foundation, Amboseli Trust for Elephants, Big Life Foundation and World Elephant Day Society. Noted wildlife conservationist Dr Richard Leakey and Dr Joyce Poole, prominent elephant researcher and scientist, also supported the campaign for an #ivoryfreecanada.
The general public are invited to sign the petition at http://bit.ly/ivoryfreecanada that will also be presented to the Canadian government. Both the letter and petition ask the administration to ban all domestic trade of elephant ivory and make the import, export and re-export of all elephant ivory illegal.