#Animal Rights
His Excellency President Levy Mwanawasa

The ivory trade has pushed elephants steadily toward extinction. In the 1980s, 2,000 elephants were being killed every week across Africa. Only a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) ban on the international trade in ivory could stop the bloodshed. And yet there is constant pressure on CITES to reopen the international ivory trade.

CITES agreed to a partial lifting of the ban, but this did nothing to curb poaching, to provide adequate funding for enforcement of wildlife protection laws, or to uplift local communities. Still elephants across Africa and Asia continue to be slaughtered and ivory traded in huge quantities. Today there are only an estimated 519,461 wild elephants in Africa and approximately 30,000 wild elephants in Asia.

At the height of the international ivory trade in the 1970s and 1980s, Zambia's elephant population dwindled from 200,000 to fewer than 20,000, according to Zambia's Deputy Tourism Minister. This trend was reversed only when the international ivory ban was agreed. Any relaxation in protection for Zambia?s elephants could wipe out the remaining elephants in a very short space of time.

Zambia's elephants can earn far more for their country alive than dead. In 1989 Kenya's elephants were estimated to be worth US$25 million in tourism each year. Zambia should not allow itself to be lured by the prospect of the quick money to be gained by allowing elephants to be killed for their ivory when there is a long-term profit in keeping elephants alive.

We, the undersigned, respectfully urge the government of Zambia not to risk its remaining elephant population by requesting that it be downlisted from Appendix I to Appendix II at the November 2002 meeting of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) or by subsequently selling ivory on the international market.

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The Save Zambia's Elephants petition to His Excellency President Levy Mwanawasa was written by Tanya Mulford and is in the category Animal Rights at GoPetition.