LIVE CITES: Chapter Animals congratulates decisions on elephants

They are wise, intelligent and sensitive. They are able to show more empathy than most men, who constantly chase them around the world. They are also able to recognize a family member decades after being separated. Altruism and possessing an impressive memory, they could disappear in a few years if nothing changes ... We speak well on African elephants. And during the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), their species may be doomed to extinction.




From 17 August to 28, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is taking place. Many decisions critical to the survival of certain species are at stake. We could talk about the inclusion in Appendix II of giraffes or the saiga antelope from Appendix II to Appendix I, thus prohibiting its trading and hunting. But it's not giraffes and antelopes that interest us today. These are the African elephants.

African elephants have been included in Appendix I of the Convention since 1,989, thus rendering illegal trade in all forms (sale of live or dead individuals, sale of trophies or ivory). But in 1997, three African countries managed to tilt their elephant population under Annex II, now offering a quota of individuals to slaughter and regularize the marketing of ivory sales. In 2000, it is South Africa, which predates Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe, that it reaches an agreement to increase its population to Annex II. In 2019, as if that was not enough, these same four countries say they want to increase elephant quotas to slaughter and sell more ivory.

Are the elephants of these four countries therefore destined to disappear? No. This may not be the case. Many countries, including Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Syria, Sudan and Togo propose, instead of increasing the quotas to be slaughtered of this species already in danger, to reintegrate the population of the four countries in Annex I and this decision does not please everyone. You should know that Zimbabwe regularly sells its young fauna to foreign countries. Since the elephant population of the country has passed under Schedule II, the government has legally authorized the capture of elephants and sale to foreign zoos! These are elephant babies, sometimes only a few months old, who are captured for captive living in countries that sometimes do not have animal welfare regulations like China or Pakistan.

Many countries, including Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Japan, the United States, Canada, and the European Union opposed the sale stoppage elephants for the captive industry. However, for these gregarious animals, living in herds, whose females never separate from their group of individuals and males from the age of 15, the removal of babies can cause immense suffering and a violent psychological shock to the mother, who will try to find her child at any cost. The Born Free Foundation claims that more or less 1 774 African elephants have been sold abroad since 1,990. Chapter Animals, for its part, is still indignant and has been formally opposed to harvesting wild individuals.

In France, African elephants over the age of 30, visible in circuses and zoos all come from wild collections. We have, for example, in the circuses, the elephant Tania (Samba) taken in Kenya in 988. We also have elephants Baby, Bambi and Rosa, who are the last African representatives in circuses, in France. We had Betty, captured in 1988 in Zimbabwe, belonging to a French circus and then sold to a trainer.

And as if that were not enough, it is Zambia's turn to transfer its population under Annex II, to allow the sale of individuals and the killing of adults.

EDIT: 46 countries voted in favor of stopping the export of wild elephants taken to captivity. 18 other countries, among those mentioned above, voted against the changes. The EU, also opposed to these changes, has finally remained neutral.

EDIT: After tensions within CITES, the four African countries that want to undermine the protection of the elephant population in their country have threatened to leave CITES. But the proposal was in favor of elephants, with a vote of 23 for, 101 against and 18 abstentions.

EDIT: Zambia's request, supported by the four countries mentioned above as well as Japan, has just been rejected. The elephant population is therefore included in Appendix I