The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (or CITES) is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland from August 17-28, 2019. African Wildlife Foundation’s Vice President, Species Conservation and Science Dr. Philip Muruthi has attended every meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES since 1997. He explains why bringing together wildlife range States, wildlife conservation organizations, and community groups from across the world is so important for the sustainable conservation of Africa’s wildlife species.
The “big tusker” known as Mountain Bull weighed six tons but his size was nothing compared to his stubbornness. Born in Kenya, he was notorious for trampling fields, knocking down fences, and raiding crops as he traveled along age-old migration routes.
In the past few years, we have seen a big movement toward domestic bans for ivory and rhino horn from major consumer countries, including China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom. However, other countries are lagging behind — in Laos and Japan, ivory is traded openly as a luxury commodity in markets and even online. In New Zealand, carved ivory fetches high prices at auction houses and antique shops, and many items are re-exported under lax regulations and could re-enter the market, fueling demand. African Wildlife Foundation CEO Kaddu Sebunya explains why these countries need to ban the domestic trade of ivory before it is too late for Africa’s elephants.
Ancient elephant migratory routes run through southern Tanzania’s Kilombero Valley, which is part of a dense cluster of wetlands and forests and in the Great Ruaha River Basin and a designated Ramsar site — a distinction bestowed on internationally important wetlands. Allowing elephants and other large mammals to move between protected habitats like the Udzungwa Mountains National Park and Selous Game Reserve, wildlife corridors and dispersal areas are critical in maintaining species health. However, these access routes often cut across large commercial plantations as well as smallholder farms sprawled across the valley’s fertile highlands.
Driven by international poaching syndicates as well as local bush meat hunters, the illegal killing, trading, and trafficking of wildlife and wildlife products keep African species at risk. Learn from Didi Wamukoya, African Wildlife Foundation’s Senior Manager, Wildlife Law Enforcement, why the continent needs watertight investigative, prosecutorial, and judicial processes — coordinated across regions — to adequately protect its wildlife.