ZIMBABWE MOVES TO TIGHTEN UP IVORY TRADE CONTROLS
The government of Zimbabwe has revoked the right of licensed domestic ivory traders to issue CITES export documents at the time legal ivory products are purchased as souvenirs in the country. Anyone wishing to take ivory carvings out of Zimbabwe must now apply to one of the three CITES Management Authority offices to obtain a CITES export permit.
This announcement was made through the CITES Secretariat in Notification to the Parties No. 20010/024 of 16 August 2010.Â All CITES Parties are requested to no longer accept a Zimbabwe document once known as a 'Short Export Permit'.Â Formerly, the Short Export Permit was supplied by the CITES Management Authority of Zimbabwe to licensed curio traders who could issue the document to customers at the time ivory products were purchased for non-commercial purposes.Â The holder of a Short Export Permit was then required to get the endorsement of a Customs officer in order to be entitled to leave the country with any legally-purchased ivory carvings.
The move to strengthen ivory trade controls in Zimbabwe comes in the wake of documented abuse where un-worked elephant tusks were offered for import into other countries illegally using the Short Export Permits.
The CITES Parties have authorized trade in ivory carvings, for non-commercial purposes, from Zimbabwe since 1997, when the country's elephant population was transferred to Appendix II of the Convention. But this decision does not allow trade in raw ivory, which was never intended to be covered by the Short Export Permit system.
"Zimbabwe believes in sustainable and legal wildlife trade, but we will not tolerate unscrupulous individuals who abuse the system", said Mr. Vitalis Chadenga, Director General of Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. "we are committed to curtailing any illegal trade in ivory from our country and request the co-operation of the global community to help us achieve that objective".
All CITES Parties have been requested to no longer authorize the import of any ivory carvings in cases where an individual presents a -Short Export Permit- from Zimbabwe.Â
"TRAFFIC applauds the Zimbabwe government for this positive development", said Tom Milliken, Regional Director of TRAFFIC's programme for east and southern Africa. "It's the right thing to do and sends a clear message against illegal trade practices".
With nearly 100,000 elephants, according to the African Elephant Database of the IUCN/SSC African Elephant Specialist Group, Zimbabwe has the third largest elephant population in Africa.